India’s First Cloned Desi Gir Female Calf
The National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in Karnal, Haryana, has produced the country’s first cloned female calf of the desi breed Gir, named ‘Ganga.’ The NDRI had initiated a project to clone indigenous cow breeds such as Gir and Sahiwal to increase milk production.
Gir, Sahiwal, Tharparkar, and Red-Sindhi are indigenous cattle breeds in India that play a pivotal role in milk production and the growth of the Indian dairy industry. Among these, Gir is well-known for its tolerance to conditions of stress and resistance to various tropical diseases.
More than 15 liters of milk per day can be produced by the cloned Gir female calf, which has the potential to significantly contribute to milk production.
Collaboration with Uttarakhand Livestock Development Board
The National Dairy Research Institute collaborated with Uttarakhand Livestock Development Board (ULDB), Dehradun, to work on cloning high-yield desi breeds such as Gir, Red Sindhi, and Sahiwal breeds.
A team of scientists comprising Dr. Naresh Selokar, Manoj Kumar Singh, Ajay Aswal, SS Lathwal, Subhash Kumar, Ranjeet Verma, Kartikey Patel, and MS Chauhan have been working for over two years to develop an indigenous method to produce cloned cattle.
Indigenous Method to Produce Cloned Cattle
The Gir was cloned by isolating the oocytes from live animals using ultrasound-guided needles. Oocytes were then matured for 24 hours under control conditions. The somatic cells of elite cows are used as donor genomes, which are fused with OPU-derived enucleated oocytes. After the chemical activation and in-vitro culture, the developed blastocysts are transferred into recipient mothers to deliver the Gir calf.
Dr. Manmohan Singh Chauhan, the Vice Chancellor of GB Pant Agriculture University, was the head of NDRI when it started work on cloning high-yield desi breeds like Gir, Red Sindhi, and Sahiwal breeds at the NDRI in 2021.
Export of Gir Cattle
Dr. Dheer Aibgh, the Chief of NDRI, stated that Gir cattle are very hardy and have been exported to Brazil, the United States, Mexico, and Venezuela for the development of zebu cows. The export of Gir cattle can help to increase the popularity of the breed worldwide and strengthen India’s position in the dairy industry.
Category: India Nation & States Current Affairs