20 September 2022

"Dolly the Wolf Cub"

Chinese scientists have cloned an Arctic predator

Alexandra Medvedeva, Naked Science

Scientists from the Chinese company SinoGene and the Harbin Polar Park, located in northeastern China, cloned the Melville island, or Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos) for the first time. This is a subspecies of the common wolf, which is distinguished by light fur and is found on Arctic islands in North America and Greenland. The first puppy was born on June 10, 2022, and the second will be born in the coming days, the CEO of the company said.

Earlier, SinoGene cloned a dog from a somatic cell for the first time in the world. A beagle puppy named Lun Lun was born on May 28, 2017. Moreover, Lun Lun also became the first genetically modified dog. Later, scientists successfully obtained two more healthy cloned puppies.

The Arctic wolf cloning project started in 2020. Scientists obtained somatic cells from a skin sample of a female wild wolf named May, brought from Canada to the Harbin Polar Park, a beagle dog became a surrogate mother for the wolf cub. Scientists note that this procedure is not dangerous for a dog, and the health and life expectancy of cloned animals should not differ from normal ones. Arctic wolves live in the wild for seven to ten years, but Maya has lived in captivity for 17 years.

The first cub was born 100 days ago. He weighed 520 grams with a body length of 22 centimeters, on the 11th day his weight already exceeded a kilogram, and on the 60th day he reached 4.6 kilograms.

According to researchers, cloning gives hope for the salvation of endangered or already extinct species. Cells preserved by freezing or other means can be used in the future to clone new individuals who will retain the ability to reproduce and will be able to have offspring that are no different from ordinary individuals. Representatives of SinoGene stressed that the technology does not limit the genetic diversity of the population.

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