BEIJING (Agencies): A groundbreaking initiative to clone “super cows” aimed at boosting dairy output is progressing successfully in Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, according to a scientist from the Northwest A&F University. The project, now a year in, involves the replication of cows with exceptional traits capable of producing an impressive 100 tons of milk over their lifetime.
Led by project leader Jin Yaping, the team has achieved a significant milestone by using the somatic cell nuclear transfer method to clone three super cows. Now labeled as “super high-production long-lived cows,” these clones, aged 12 months, are part of ongoing efforts to produce embryos for in vitro fertilization, with early-stage work already underway.
The ambitious project, which garnered global attention last January, represents the first successful attempt by Chinese scientists to collect, restore, and conserve the germplasm resource of “super cows.” While the current number of embryos is limited, Jin expressed optimism that the ongoing work will lead to a substantial increase.
In a parallel effort, a separate project focusing on breeding high-output long-lived dairy cows in a laboratory setting commenced in December. These cows, slightly inferior to the super cows, can produce 14 tons of milk annually and are capable of being utilized in four pregnancy cycles for milk production.
Jin highlighted the significance of high-production long-lived dairy cows, emphasizing that the average milk-producing capacity of cows in China currently stands at 9.2 tons per year, with most limited to three pregnancy cycles.
The research, conducted simultaneously in Shaanxi Province and Ningxia, incorporates various technologies, including Ovum Pick Up/In Vitro Embryo Production, cloning of somatic cells and stem cells, as well as genome testing.
China’s emphasis on self-reliance in crucial genetic resources and substantial investments in agricultural technology align with recent breakthroughs in key sectors, contributing to enhanced food security. The country’s commitment to strengthening the domestic supply of superior breeds of dairy cows is integral to the revitalization of its dairy industry, with 2022 witnessing a milestone in milk production surpassing 40 million tons.
As China continues to prioritize advancements in technology and innovation in agriculture, the success of the super cow cloning project marks a significant stride towards sustainable and efficient dairy production.