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Cattle of Unusual Size

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Date: Jan 21, 2010 - 07:44 AM
This time, it's to clone the might Auroch.

Yeah. Cattle of Unusual Size. What's next? Possibly Rodents of Unusual Size?

The interesting trick is, it's not (this time) direct cloning. Rather, they're taking "related" animals, and attempting to crossbreed them in order to re-create something very similar to the extinct beast:

Breeds of large cattle which most closely resemble Bos primigenius, such as Highland cattle and the white Maremma breed from Italy, are being bred with each other in a technique known as "back-breeding".

At the same time, scientists say they have for the first time created a map of the auroch's genome, so that they know precisely what type of animal they are trying to replicate.

"We were able to analyse auroch DNA from preserved bone material and create a rough map of its genome that should allow us to breed animals nearly identical to aurochs," said team leader Donato Matassino, head of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology in Benevento, in the southern Campania region.

"We've already made our first round of crosses between three breeds native to Britain, Spain and Italy. Now we just have to wait and see how the calves turn out."




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