Science News Desk – Chinese scientists have successfully cloned 3 ‘super cows’ that can produce unusually high amounts of milk. China’s state media has described this achievement of scientists as revolutionary for the country’s dairy industry. According to local media reports, the successful cloning of super cows would reduce China’s dependence on imported breeds. Scientists at the Northwest University of Agriculture and Forestry Science and Technology successfully cloned three calves of Super Cow on January 23, a week before the Lunar New Year.
All three calves were cloned from Holstein Friesian cows, a breed found in the Netherlands. Cows of Holstein Phrygian breed are considered highly milk producers. A cow of this breed has the capacity to give 18 tonnes or 100 tonnes of milk per year in its lifetime. According to the US Department of Agriculture, this figure is about 1.7 times the average milk production of a cow per day in the USA in 2021. An official in Ningjia’s Wulin city told the state-run Technology Daily that the first of the cloned calves was born by Caesarean section on December 30, weighing 56.7 kg (120 lb).
According to Technology Daily, scientists created 120 cloned embryos from ear cells of high-yielding cows and placed them in the wombs of surrogate cows. Quoting the chief scientist of this project, Jin Yaping, the successful cloning of ‘super cows’ has been described as a major achievement. This is a big step in the direction of including China among the world’s leading countries in the field of milk production. The success of this project would allow China to preserve a very good breed of cows that would also be economically viable.
Jin Yaping told the Global Times that only 5 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 high milk yielding cows are not identified until late in their lives, making them difficult to rear. According to the Global Times, 70% of China’s milk cows are imported from abroad.
“We are focusing on breeding more than 1,000 super cows as a solid foundation to deal with the issue of China’s dependence on foreign cows,” Jin Yaping, chief scientist of the Super Cow Project, told the Global Times. This will take two to three years. China has made significant progress in animal cloning in recent years. Last year, an animal cloning company in China created the world’s first cloned arctic wolf.