The first cloned Prezewalski’s horse offers scientists access to genetic information that will assist in preserving the breed.
On August 6, the world’s first successfully cloned Przewalski’s horse was born in Texas at the veterinary facility of a ViaGen Equine collaborator, Timber Creek Veterinary. The foal, named Kurt, born to a domestic surrogate mother, is a clone of a male Przewalski’s horse whose DNA was cryopreserved 40 years ago at the San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) Frozen Zoo®. He represents the first time this species has been cloned, and scientists indicate it could provide an important model for future conservation efforts.
“This birth expands the opportunity for genetic rescue of endangered wild species,” says Ryan Phelan, executive director of Revive & Restore. “Advanced reproductive technologies, including cloning, can save species by allowing us to restore genetic diversity that would have otherwise been lost to time.”
Kurt will be moved to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to be integrated into a breeding herd of his species once he is older. As he matures and successfully breeds, he can provide a valuable infusion of genetic diversity to the Przewalski’s horse population.