Texas A&M University researchers achieved another cloning breakthrough this week when Mouse, the first foal successfully cloned from a live mare’s egg cells, was born. In the past, equine clones have been produced from egg cells incubated in a laboratory rather than from live mares.
Texas A&M’s student newspaper The Battalion reported that equine reproduction expert Katrin Hinrichs heads the lab that produced the clone. Hinrichs’ lab also successfully produced the first cloned horse in the United States, as well as a clone of an anonymous European show jumping champion in 2005.
The clone, a Lippizan colt named Mouse, was produced using skin cells from a stallion named Marc. Dressage trainer Kit Knotts, Cocoa Beach, Fla., owns both horses.
The skin cells were used to produce viable embryos, which were created using recovered egg cells from live mares. The egg cells were obtained in a process similar to the one used for in vitro fertilization in humans.
Knotts decided she wanted to clone Marc after she was unable to find a similar horse. Hinrichs did note that while Mouse is identical to Marc, the two would eventually differ due to environmental differences.