Hong Kong (CNN) — Chinese scientists have successfully cloned three “super cows” that can produce unusually high amounts of milk, state media reported, calling it a breakthrough for China’s dairy industry to reduce dependence on imported breeds. considered as.
Three calves, raised by scientists from the Northwest University of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences and Technology, were born in the Ningxia region in the weeks before the Lunar New Year on January 23, the state-run Ningxia Daily reported.
They were originally cloned from the highly productive Holstein Friesian breed of cows from the Netherlands. Selected animals are capable of producing 18 tons of milk per year or 100 tons of milk in their lifetime.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, this is approximately 1.7 times the amount of milk produced by the average cow in the United States in 2021.
An official in Ningxia’s Wulin city told the state-run Technology Daily that the first of the cloned calves was born by Caesarean section on December 30 due to its relatively large size of 56.7 kg (120 lb).
According to Technology Daily, scientists created 120 cloned embryos from ear cells of highly productive cows and placed them in surrogate cows.
Jin Yaping, the project’s lead scientist, called the birth of the “super cows” a “breakthrough” that allows China to “preserve the best cows” in an economically viable way, the state-run Global Times reported.
Only five out of 10,000 cows in China can produce 100 tonnes of milk in their lifetime, making them a valuable resource for breeding. But some highly productive cows are not identified until late in their lives, which makes them difficult to breed, Jin said.
According to the Global Times, 70% of China’s dairy cows are imported from abroad.
“We plan to take two to three years to build a herd consisting of more than 1,000 super cows as a solid foundation to address China’s dependence on foreign dairy cows and the risk of ‘suffocation’. [por las interrupciones en la cadena de suministro]Jin told the newspaper.
In many countries, including the United States, farmers breed clones with traditional animals to add desirable traits such as higher milk yield or disease resistance to the gene pool.
China has made significant progress in animal cloning in recent years.
Last year, a Chinese animal cloning company created the world’s first cloned arctic wolf.
In 2017, Chinese scientists said they had produced cloned cattle with increased resistance to bovine tuberculosis, a risk to cattle in many countries.