Chennai: Enthused by possibilities of cloning
giving a new lease of life to endangered species, Tamil Nadu
Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) is all set
to produce cloned varieties of such animals using nuclear
transfer technology by next year.
"Cloning holds the future possibility bringing back long
extinct animals, whose DNA material can still be found as it
holds the entire information of creating the organism",
TANUVAS Vice Chancellor Dr P Thangaraju said.
Thangaraju said that among their first tasks would be to
work on reviving some old endangered cattle species, for which
TANUVAS has already set up a high tech research laboratory.
A team has been formed and has started working on
standardised techniques for cloning sheep and rabbits, he said.
The technology involves transferring the complete genetic
material from the nucleus of a cultured donor cell to a mature
recipient egg, whose nucleus has been removed. The resulting
offspring are genetically identical to the founder animal who
supplied the donor nucleus.
Pointing out that scientists all over the world have for
long been trying to clone animals, he said the process fails
many a time during pregnancy or due to some birth defects.
"The outcome of our research cannot be predicted immediately
as it involves many permutations and combinations to produce a
healthy animal from cloning", he said.
Thangaraju said TANUVAS has also submitted a project to
the Centre for further funding for research on cloning.
Thangaraj said TANUVAS would for the first time in the
country set up an umbilical cord cell bank for animals.
"For the first time in the country, after using autologous
(patient derived) stem cell therapy for management of a dog`s
spinal cord injury, we plan to set up an umbilical cord cell
bank for animals, especially for dogs and horses," he said.
The bank, with a high-tech laboratory, would help treat
animals through stem cell procedure, he said.
"We are going to submit a big project on stem cell research
to the Department of Bio-technology this month at Delhi. Its
expert committee will go through the papers and soon give us
permission to do research," he said.
Thangaraju said TANUVAS has also requested for about Rs 24
crore from the Department to explore possibilities in stem
cell procedures to treat animals.
He said the University is also undertaking research on
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques through which immature
oocytes harvested from ovaries collected from slaughtered
sheep and buffalo are cultured for maturation and inseminated
with genetically superior semen for production of embryos.
"These techniques have been standardized under laboratory
conditions for production of embryos", he said, adding TANUVAS
also offers training programmes in IVF and embryo co-culture
techniques to medical and life sciences staff and students.
TANUVAS has also perfected surgical embryo transfer
techniques in rabbits and goats and successfully produced
these animals through embryo transfer, he said.