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  1. #1
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    Question Clones ~ what's the deal there? I don't get it.

    In the Sept. issue of Practical Horseman there is a couple of small blurbs, on two pages about the clones of Gem Twist. On page 73 it says another of GT's clones (Murka's Gem) was born in 2011 and will be whisked off to Great Briton for stud (????).
    On page 76 there is a picture of someone sitting on Gemini (clone one), at a stand still. He was born in 2008, and is standing stud at Frank Chapot's New jersey farm. He is already the sire of a foal of 2012, born of a TB mare.

    Why isn't this business of sucessfully producing clones BIG NEWS? Why aren't the owners anxious to see if the actual clone can perform like, or at all as well as the original (horse)? You'd think there would be videos of the baby's movement as he grows all over the place.

    And even though the mainstream breed registries won't recognize the clone, why don't the owners train the horse up anyway, and just show open? I know that in point-to-point races, the horse only has to have been "fairly hunted", no papers needed. I myself showed jumpers forever, and they never needed papers for open shows.

    And so, what's the advantage of breeding the clones then??? So Gemini was bred to a TB mare... now what? If there was a registry, what would be put on the foal's papers for the sire? "Sire unknown", dam is: (her real reg. name)? I guess I'm scratching my head, because I don't see the rush to the breeding shed, without making an effort to show the world that the clone can, or not, perform quite like his original self.

    The aritcle does say that the FEI is studying the matter, and might allow eventually their entry into international events.

    But so this just puts us back to my original inquiry. If they aren't trained up to perform in public at some venue, and you can't get papers from their breed association, what's the point? Anyone have any ideas? (And why breed them so young??????)



  2. #2

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    My impression on Gemini, at least, is that Gem Twist more than proved himself in competition. But he was a gelding.

    Gemini was cloned specifically (IIRC) for breeding purposes, and his value is entirely in his ability to do what Gem Twist couldn't -- pass on those genetics.

    Ergo, no need to prove him in competition. And in fact, a huge risk to do so, given the cost to clone him.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyVagrant View Post
    My impression on Gemini, at least, is that Gem Twist more than proved himself in competition. But he was a gelding.

    Gemini was cloned specifically (IIRC) for breeding purposes, and his value is entirely in his ability to do what Gem Twist couldn't -- pass on those genetics.

    Ergo, no need to prove him in competition. And in fact, a huge risk to do so, given the cost to clone him.
    That is my view as well. Horse is worth more at stud, than he is as a performer. Those genetics are just not available other ways. Scamper the wonderful Barrel Racer, 10 years as World Champion, huge money earner, is another example of a performance gelding that got cloned. I expect Charmayne makes good money off his cloned son as a breeding stallion. That stallion is not ever going to be competed either. Just used to be getting those genetics back into other performance horses. Scamper has since died, so this clone is the how to get his genetics now.



  4. #4
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    OP needs to do some research on genetics(specifically the difference between genotype and phenotype), and a lot of other things.

    The 'someone' sitting on Gemini is Laura Chapot.

    Gemini has been accepted by Zangersheide. (and perhaps a second registry as well??)

    The owners have the opportunity to create a breeding program that was lost when GT was gelded.

    What the clone does itself is somewhat secondary. I am sure they would like to have another GemTwist at the international level, but first and foremost, is the desire to see if there is any potential to continue the breeding line.

    Since there was a second stallion clone produced (it was not produced to geld and make up as a riding horse, but to keep intact and try as a breeding horse) there are obviously some other people who feel it is worth giving it a try.

    I am pretty sure the FEI just lifted any restrictions on clones or their progeny competing, so I believe it is all systems go!



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ILuvmyButtercups View Post

    Why aren't the owners anxious to see if the actual clone can perform like, or at all as well as the original (horse)?
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyVagrant View Post
    My impression on Gemini, at least, is that Gem Twist more than proved himself in competition. But he was a gelding.

    Gemini was cloned specifically (IIRC) for breeding purposes, and his value is entirely in his ability to do what Gem Twist couldn't -- pass on those genetics.

    Ergo, no need to prove him in competition. And in fact, a huge risk to do so, given the cost to clone him.

    I'm a little confused too...an I apologize, I'm not very good at genetics. But that said (quoted) is it actually a proven fact that the clone WOULD have/pass down the same talent/genetics? Without needing to see proof in competition?



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    I'm a little confused too...an I apologize, I'm not very good at genetics. But that said (quoted) is it actually a proven fact that the clone WOULD have/pass down the same talent/genetics? Without needing to see proof in competition?
    A clone is the genetic identical of the original, so it would pass along the same genes as the original. No need to prove performance.



  7. #7

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    I'm not a geneticist, so I have no idea what the details there are beyond a general layman's understanding, which says the clone has the same genes and will pass down the same genes as the stallion would have. I think there are differences in the mitochondria DNA and/or the telemeres or something? Out of my depth at that point.

    But as far as talent -- there's no guaruntee a non-cloned stallion will pass down their talent, either.

    There was a thread in the Sporthorse forum not too long ago that I think touched on a lot of these ideas. Probably worth looking up if you want to see perspectives from breeders, who ought to have a handle on all of these questions.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyVagrant View Post
    I'm not a geneticist, so I have no idea what the details there are beyond a general layman's understanding, which says the clone has the same genes and will pass down the same genes as the stallion would have. I think there are differences in the mitochondria DNA and/or the telemeres or something? Out of my depth at that point.

    But as far as talent -- there's no guaruntee a non-cloned stallion will pass down their talent, either.

    There was a thread in the Sporthorse forum not too long ago that I think touched on a lot of these ideas. Probably worth looking up if you want to see perspectives from breeders, who ought to have a handle on all of these questions.
    In the case of a stallion or male of a species, the presence of donor mitochondria doesn't matter. In mammals, mitochondrial DNA is maternally inherited. Therefore Gem Twist would never have passed on his mitochondria anyway.

    There have been RARE reports of paternal mitochondrial inheritance, but really not relevant to the cloning of geldings in the grand scheme of things.

    Now, if we wanted to clone Touch of Class....



  9. #9
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    I don't understand what there is for the FEI to consider. Horses don't need to be registered (breed wise) to be shown; a grade horse whose parentage is a total mystery can be shown anywhere as long as it has the necessary health papers and a passport, on which I suppose you could put "unknown" if needed. What am I missing?
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  10. #10
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    Does anybody know if the get of Scamper's clone are doing anything performance wise? Does he have any foals on the ground that are old enough to be running barrels yet? IIRC, Scamper was just a non-descript QH that Charmayne's dad had working in the feedlots. He had a penchant for bucking. Charmayne was one of those ranch kids that would ride anything with hair, she and Scamper clicked, and the rest is history. Makes me wonder if he was just a fluke and whether his genetics were actually worth anything.



  11. #11
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    I agree that I would really like to see if a clone would have pretty similar competition results. Nature/nurture and all that.

    Sure the genes might be the same, but nutrition, training, life experiences, etc. should have their impacts. It would be great to see a real-life test of whether the genetic propensities are robust across different environments and learning histories in the real world, not in controlled conditions.



  12. #12
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    If you have a horse who has won world championships, having a foal with half its genetic makeup coming from that horse sounds like a great proposition. That's what the clones offer, same as any other stallion out there.


    If you let a horse who has won world championships compete under different circumstances than those in which he won, you risk injury of course, but given either the horse or one with his exact genetic makeup has already won world championships - you take the risk of showing that the genetic material alone isn't as strong as you hoped it would be... Totilas and MAR, anyone?


    Taking a clone whose "sire" won world championships and competed into competition himself is a lose-only proposition. The only way I see it happening is if someone is simply a huge competitor and the clone is more a "what-if" for them than a chance to improve the gene pool.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



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  14. #14
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    I was having this conversation with one of my Mentors the other day and she was saying that even in humans who are identical twins, there's about a 12% difference in genetic makeup (thus why they may have different personal preferences, talents, etc). Having said that, there aren't many reasons to create a clone beyond breeding purposes.

    Up until this past summer, the FEI did not allow any clones to compete. Many registrations have limitations on whether or not clones are allowed to be registered, or how many are. Heck, many registries only allow 2 embryo transfer foals from a mare to be registered each year so it's not too surprising that they would limit the number of clones. I mean, the JC still doesn't allow AI.

    I think it has a lot of exciting possibilities, but it's still an extraordinarily expensive process. It takes at least $100,000 to get a single foal on the ground. That doesn't include how much it will take to help that horse make it to maturity and become either a breeding stallion or a performance horse. If you bring that horse up to being performance ready and they turn out to be a flop (which is possible. We don't know WHY some of those horses were so amazing - whether it was genetics or their environment or just something that happened just right on one day of their training) then the owners just wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's easier and more investment savvy to say "I've got the clone of Gem Twist for breeding" than to say "I've got the clone of Gem Twist who didn't live up to his donor's legacy and he's available for breeding".

    At the end of the day, when genetics get passed from one generation to the next they go through a great cosmic blender and end up in some new configuration that's half of each of what you were breeding. It's the old joke about the gorgeous model and the ugly scientist. She suggests they should have children because with "Looks like hers and brains like his they'd be unstoppable". The scientist replies "Yes darling, what about if they look like me and have your brains?". It's the reason why you want to take a horse with amazing conformation, brains and talent and breed it to another horse with amazing conformation, brains and talent. Because if you take one horse with brains, poor conformation and talent and breed it to a horse with amazing conformation, no talent and rocks between it's ears you could very well get a horse with poor conformation, so so talent, and rocks between it's ears.



  15. #15
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    Don't forget that a clone is an exact genetic copy of the individual cloned.

    Now, the expression of those genes in that new individual may have some differences with the original one and of course how the new individual is raised and trained will also have an important impact on the resulting individual.

    Still, while breeding is always gambling genetically, cloning is the least genetic gamble.

    The AQHA has been served papers on a lawsuit about not admitting clones to the regular registry.
    A bit hard to have that stand in court, as a clone is for all purposes as close an exact copy to the already registered individual that the clone was produced from, so clearly as much an AQHA horse as you can get, even more than if it was the offspring of two registered parents.

    That is going to be a sticky wicket for any association needing to regulate cloning and registering them or not.



  16. #16
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    Is it true, that there are certain genes that are only expressed when exposed to a particular set of circumstances?

    So the son of Gem Twist could have the SAME genotype, but due to the differences in pregnancies, you could have different phenotypes?

    And certainly early training or just clicking with a certain person can change a horse.



  17. #17
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    I heard a story about Chance, the cloned bull that has forever influenced my thoughts on cloning -

    "Ralph and Sandra Fisher, who run a show-animal business in Texas, had a beloved Brahman bull named Chance. Chance was the gentlest bull they'd ever seen—more like a pet dog than a bull. They loved him, kids loved him. He had a long career in movies, on TV, performing at parties. When he finally died, Ralph and Sandra were devastated. Around that same time, scientists at Texas A & M University were looking for animal subjects for a cloning project. They already had some tissue from Chance because they'd treated him for an illness. So Ralph and Sandra offered up Chance's DNA for the experiment. Second Chance was born. And he was, eerily, just like Chance. Except he wasn't. Which they found out the hard way. (21 minutes) "

    from-
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...-feels-so-good
    Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing



  18. #18
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    Gemini was cloned specifically for use at stud.

    I talked to Laura at Gladstone last weekend, and she says the horse is like Gem in every way. And even though he isn't showing, he has certainly been tested at home. The Chapots are unique in that they bred and raised and showed Gem Twist, so they are intimately familiar with him from conception through death. They can compare every step this clone takes with Gem's development. Pretty intriguing.
    Laurie
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jawa View Post
    Is it true, that there are certain genes that are only expressed when exposed to a particular set of circumstances?

    So the son of Gem Twist could have the SAME genotype, but due to the differences in pregnancies, you could have different phenotypes?

    And certainly early training or just clicking with a certain person can change a horse.
    Heck, the breast cancer gene is an example of certain genes aren't always expressed. We first learned about this from diseases for which we found genetic markers, but things like white on legs will vary from the original to the clone.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldaziens View Post
    I heard a story about Chance, the cloned bull that has forever influenced my thoughts on cloning -

    "Ralph and Sandra Fisher, who run a show-animal business in Texas, had a beloved Brahman bull named Chance. Chance was the gentlest bull they'd ever seen—more like a pet dog than a bull. They loved him, kids loved him. He had a long career in movies, on TV, performing at parties. When he finally died, Ralph and Sandra were devastated. Around that same time, scientists at Texas A & M University were looking for animal subjects for a cloning project. They already had some tissue from Chance because they'd treated him for an illness. So Ralph and Sandra offered up Chance's DNA for the experiment. Second Chance was born. And he was, eerily, just like Chance. Except he wasn't. Which they found out the hard way. (21 minutes) "

    from-
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...-feels-so-good
    Interesting. I heard the program, and it sounds like this one (2nd Chance) was a pet from the time he was born. The original, the owner got at age 7, and noticed the docility then.

    Quite likely the bull had a docile enough temperament that could be passed on, but the close had a radically different, spoiled upbringing.



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