BANGKOK, Feb 9 (AFP): Thai researchers are close to delivering two calves cloned from an adult cow’s ear cells in what would be a breakthrough for Southeast Asian scientists, researchers said Wednesday. “The first cloned cow is expected to be delivered within a month,” said Rangsan Polpai, a researcher at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of Veterinary Science. A second calf is due to be born to another surrogate mother in March. The clones were grown from combined cells cultured from the ear of an adult cow and the eggs of another cow, producing a batch of embryos, which were implanted into surrogate mothers. Of the 14 cows into which researchers initially planted embryos, only four became pregnant. Two of the four miscarried. But the remaining two surrogates are now well past the 120-day period when miscarriage is likely, Rangsan said. “We still face many problems, including the fact that we do not have our own [laboratory] animals to use in tests,” Rangsan Polpai said. “So we have to use farm animals over which we cannot have 100% control,” he added. The Thai research project should help farmers develop specific breeds of livestock, said Rangsan, though he stressed that the study was in its early stages and he could not be sure that Thai farmers would benefit until the first cloned creature is born.
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