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News Article

Project to Clone Extinct Cheetah Gets a Boost

The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology's bid to clone the Asiatic cheetah, an extinct wild animal in India, has received a boost, with Iran reportedly agreeing to collaborate in a research project

A visit by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India appears to have paved the way for a long-pending project to clone the Asiatic cheetah.

The Asiatic cheetah went extinct in India about 50 years ago but Iran still has many cheetahs.

The centre's cloning project has not made much progress during the three years since it was first proposed due to non-availability of a live cheetah or its genetic material. The scientists plan to insert nuclei from cheetah cells into the enucleated ova of a leopard. A female leopard would be used as a surrogate dam.

Centre director Lalji Singh said Khatami heard his plea for Iran's help, made a note of his suggestions in his diary.and appeared favourably disposed to the proposal.

Besides the joint venture, which will not entail any financial commitment on the part of Iran, Singh has urged Iran to allow a team of CCMB scientists to visit Iran to collect genetic material from cheetahs or bring a pair of live cheetahs.

"Even if it is not possible to procure a live cheetah, some live tissues of the animal could do the job," he said.

Under the collaborative venture, Iran is likely to extend all possible help to the centre. The scientists are hoping that Iran would make available two cheetahs.

Contact: Dr Lalji Singh, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research), Uppal Road, Hyderabad-500007, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Tel: +91 040-27160222-41
Fax: +91 040-27160591
E-mail: lalji@ccmb.res.in

Article details

  • Date
  • 31 January 2003
  • Subject(s)
  • Animal Reproduction
  • Plant and animal genes and genomics