Karnal (ISJ – Exclusive) – Scientists at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) has successfully cloned a critically endangered wild buffalo, found in Chhattisgarh. Only one female Asiatic Wild Water Buffalo (Bubalus arnee) is survived in the Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve of Chhattisgarh and the forest officials have confined it to semi-captivity.
NDRI scientists collected ear tissue biopsy and taken it to the laboratory at Karnal for cell proliferation. The cells were used for the process of cloning using an indigenously developed hand-guided technique.
"The calf named Deepasha by the scientists, had a normal birth weight of 32 kilograms, is healthy and active," Dr. A.K. Srivastava, Director of NDRI told Indian Science Journal.
Asiatic Wild Water Buffalo Bubalus arnee is restricted to South and Southeast Asia. The species is critically endangered due to high anthropogenic pressure ranging from habitat deterioration to hybridization with domestic buffalo.
The cloning of wild buffalo was carried out at the request of Chhattisgarh government and the Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the field director of Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve and Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Chhattisgarh.
Dr. Srivastava said the calf is normal and it will be handed back to Chhattisgarh wildlife authorities for releasing into wild after a particular age. He said, it is possible to reverse the extinction of this species of wild buffalos, "We have the necessary expertise and infrastructure to multiply this endangered species."
Recently, NDRI had cloned the famous high-yielding variety Murrah Bull – world's first clone using cells of an adult buffalo.
Dr. Srivastava said, over the years NDRI has developed reasonably good facilities in Buffalo reproduction with a dedicated team of scientists, who specializes in production of stem cells, in vitro embryo production, transgenesis for the past over a decade.
Image courtesy: NDRI