Photo by Sue Weaver
Bon Bon, Drex, Kira, Emony
Mom calls my newest babies “The Clones” because it’s so darned hard to tell them apart.
Their facial markings are each a little different; that’s all. My kids aren’t really clones. Most cloned mammals are created in the lab. But did you know that armadillos’ babies are natural clones? They are!
We have Nine-Banded Armadillos living on our farm and they are weird beasts. They have scaly, leathery heads and legs and armored shells made of horn and bone, but armadillos have soft, vulnerable tummies.
Feyza, the livestock guardian dog who protects us says they’re yummy to eat but it upsets Mom (a lot!) when Feyza kills one. The strangest thing armadillos do is this (Uzzi and I Googled armadillos, that’s why I know): at one point in her gestation a mama armadillo’s fertilized eggs splits into four equal parts and each part becomes a baby armadillo. So the babies are genetically identical haploid clones.
Human scientists have cloned lots of species. A famous Boer buck named EGGSfile (he’s in my Boer girlfriends’ pedigrees) was cloned in 2003. It cost $22,000 to create several handsome EGGSfile clones. Like other cloned animals they’re genetically identical, but they don’t look exactly alike!
Other cloned species include a camel named Injaz born in 2009; a kitty called Copycat in 2001; a dog called Snuppy in 2005; and a horse named Prometea in 2003.
However, the most famous clone in history was a cute Scottish sheep named Dolly.
Most people think Dolly was the first cloned sheep. Not so! First came twins called Megan and Morag born in 1995 at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. They were the first mammals ever cloned from differentiated cells.
Morag died of disease in 2003, but Megan lived to a ripe old age.
Dolly was the first mammal grown from an adult somatic cell and she was born at the Roslin Institute too. The cell was taken from a donor sheep’s udder, that’s why Dolly’s namesake is singer Dolly Parton. She had six lambs: a single, twins and triplets before dying of disease in 2003, lot long after her pen mate, Morag. BBC News and Scientific American called Dolly “world’s most famous sheep.”
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