The first cloned endangered Przewalski’s horse was born in a veterinary facility in Texas on August 6. The DNA of a male Przewalski horse was cloned and this was how the Przewalski horse came into existence.
Przewalski’s horses are known to be “critically endangered” species that are found in Mongolia, per Smithsonian’s National Zoo. These horses are regarded as the last species of “truly wild horses.” They are also known as the “distant cousins” of modern horses after splitting from a common ancestor around 500,000 years ago.
Przewalski’s horses had once gone into extinction in the wild, and while some breeding programs revived the species and reintroduce them into China and Mongolia’s grasslands, almost all of them can be traced back to 12 Przewalski’s horses that were born in the wild, according to San Diego Zoo.
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The cloning of DNA which was collected for 40 years is meant to introduce generic diversity into the species that could get benefit from its survival. According to the zoo, the cloned Przewalski’s horse will be transferred to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and used for further breeding.
The work to save endangered species requires collaborative and dedicated partners with aligned goals. We share in this remarkable achievement because we applied our multidisciplinary approach, working with the best scientific minds and utilizing precious genetic material collected and stored in our wildlife DNA bio bank.President of San Diego Zoo Global.
The cloned Przewalski’s horse was named after the creator of the San Diego Zoo Global Frozen Zoo, Dr. Kurt Benirschke. The zoo has been gathering and preserving the genetic material of endangered animals since 1975.
San Diego Zoo Global collaborated with a wildlife conservation group known as Revive & Restore that focuses on incorporating biotechnology into conservation efforts.and ViaGen Equine, a company that clones horses and pets.