Scientists start cloning horses in bid to save rare breed from extinction

A horse has been successfully cloned sparking hope the rare species can be rescued.

The Przewalski’s horse – which is considered the last species of 'wild horse' in the world – was cloned by scientists in a zoo in the US, reports Metro.

On August 6, the horse was cloned and a cloned foal was born.

Przewalski’s horses which are critically endangered species are born in Mongolia and China became extinct in the wild.

However, they were able to be reintroduced through a breeding program in captivity, according to Metro.

The cloned foal was born at San Diego zoo to a surrogate mother.

Scientists used a 40-year-old cryopreserved DNA for the cloning process.

"The work to save endangered species requires collaborative and dedicated partners with aligned goals," said Paul A. Baribault, president/CEO of San Diego Zoo Global.

"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," he added.

Kurt the clone could save the species as scientists hope to transfer him into a breeding program.

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He will then be able to infuse genetic diversity into the herd which could bring back the rare horse population.

"This colt is expected to be one of the most genetically important individuals of his species," said Bob Wiese Ph.D., chief life sciences officer at San Diego Zoo Global.

"We are hopeful that he will bring back genetic variation important for the future of the Przewalski’s horse population."

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Metro reported the US zoo said: "Advanced reproductive technologies are relatively standard for domestic horses and cattle. However, there have been few attempts to work with endangered species.

"The successful birth of this foal demonstrates how these techniques can be used for conservation efforts, today and into the future."

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