, FEBRUARY 18, 2007
  (STAR) Expect "super buffalos" to become a part of the countryside landscape soon.

Now on stream in pursuit of this goal is an R&D project titled "Cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer as a tool for genetic improvement in water buffalos."

Touted as the country’s first buffalo cloning R&D project and the first initiative of its kind in Southeast Asia, the project is now being implemented by the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) with funding support from PCC and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD).

The project, which was approved recently by the PCARRD governing council and launched in last month, aims to develop a system for cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer technology in water buffalo with the end in view of producing "super buffalo calves" as part of the Arroyo administration’s buffalo genetic improvement program.

Protocols on cloning techniques and freezing buffalo oocytes (female egg cells) are expected to be established, with about 1,000 buffalo clone embryos (fertilized eggs) produced in vitro (in the laboratory) and transferred to recipient animals.

"Somatic cell nuclear transfer," explained PCARRD Livestock Research Division Director Dr. Elaine F. Lanting, "is a technique that involves the production of mature buffalo oocytes in vitro. These oocytes will be enucleated (*i.e., the nucleus will be removed) to become recipient cytoplasts. In turn, the recipient cytoplasts will receive nuclear materials derived from somatic cells, such as from the ear skin of the super buffalo, and will be cultured for six to seven days in vitro. The resulting embryos will be transferred to surrogate dams to produce clones of the super buffalo."

Dr. Libertado Cruz, PCC executive director and project leader, also emphasized: "In essence, there will be no modification or alteration of the genetic materials. The project will merely allow the multiplication of the existing superior germplasms of the super buffalo." — RAF

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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