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Clones - success or failure?

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  • Clones - success or failure?

    readers might find this article of interest, regards, Chris Hector http://www.horsemagazine.com/thm/201...ss-or-failure/

  • #2
    Very well written as anything Mr Hector writes. I think De Brabander is straight on point. I think the question is pointless, as it pertains to stallions, on a breeding standpoint. Genetic material transmitted by the cloned stallion is exactly the same as with the original one. Therefore if the original stallion was valuable, the cloned one will be as well. The only question is to know if the clone of a horse born 30-35 years ago will still be relevant in todays breeding. My own personnal opinion is that breeding should always be evolving, and keeping breeding to stallions from decades past results in breeding backwards. Sure you know what you get, and they are probably better than the average stallion available. However, the best stallions of today should be way ahead of those good stallions of the past. With regards to clones of gueldings, it will depend on each specific case, and they will have to prove themselves as stallions the way the original proved itself as a sport horse. But you would still be breeding to a horse that was conceived 20 or 30 years ago, for the sport as it was back then. Another thing I always keep in mind is that someone took the decision to gueld these horses at some point, which raises the question as to if they are stallion material.

    As for mares, the mytochondrial DNA of the clone is different to the one of the original mare and I think it is too early to know Time will tell!!!

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    • #3
      Time will tell, I think, about the mares cloned; as mentioned by Cumano, the mtDNA is different with mares - best to find a close relation to the individual being cloned, I am told.

      I totally agree with Joris about the value of cloning a stallion that has already had significant access to the mare base. It does nothing to improve the gene pool that was not already there... I would much rather see cloning efforts be given to the incredible mare athletes, and even geldings which never had a chance to impact the breeding pool. We already have the breeding pool shrinking due to en vogue stallions that service/breed/cover 3k mares.. astronomical amount... which means over time less and less genetic diversity...

      I think of all the very promising young stars who had their careers cut short by untimely death and think, those are horses I would have loved to see clone..

      Of course, I say that with someone with very little skin in the game.. cloning is expensive.. and totally something I would do, if I had the capital.
      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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      • #4
        I think it's a bit unfair to look at performance records of clones as a determining factor of success or failure, as it seems a lot of them are cloned solely for the purpose of breeding, not competing. And, they are still just horses, with a whole bunch of reasons why even the best-bred horses don't make it to the show ring, let along the big rings.

        I'm 100% in agreement that it's dumb to clone stallions who have already made their mark. Zero reason to do that.

        Geldings and mares, and young stallions who either never bred or bred very few mares due to an untimely death, yes, even mares who have produced successful breeding offspring, since they only have so many foals. But that doesn't mean I think they should be cloned over and over - once it good enough.
        ______________________________
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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        • #5
          Good read. I had no idea how extensively some of these clones were bred (Ratina Z, for example).

          I'm surprised there was no mention of the Cruising clones, probably because they are unaffiliated with Stal de Muze.

          I also agree that I don't fully grasp the idea of cloning successful, proven stallions. I suppose it's tempting to always have a source of fresh semen, but it doesn't provide much in terms of improving the breed. You risk a whole lot of genetic diversity.

          It'll be exciting to see this topic revisited in 5 or 10 years as more offspring reach performance age.
          Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

          Comment


          • #6
            Also, the article on cloning does not take discuss epigenetics - a process by which certain genes are turned on or off due to environmental pressures on an organism. These changes can then be passed for a few generations. We are really just starting to understand epigenetics, but it could factor in given that the clones cannot be raised in exactly the same environment as their progenitors. https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/cont...s/inheritance/

            "Geneticists analyzed 200 years worth of harvest records from a small town in Sweden. They saw a connection between food availability (large or small harvests) in one generation and the incidence of diabetes and heart disease in later generations. The amount of food a grandfather had to eat between the ages of 9 and 12 was especially important. This is when boys go through the slow growth period (SGP), and form the cells that will give rise to sperm. As these cells form, the epigenome is copied along with the DNA. Since the building blocks for the epigenome come from the food a boy eats, his diet could impact how faithfully the epigenome is copied. The epigenome may represent a snapshot of the boy’s environment that can pass through the sperm to future generations." There are also studies linking environmental exposures to mental health outcomes in humans and to animal behaviors: "Nurturing behavior in rats
            Rat pups who receive high or low nurturing from their mothers develop epigenetic differences that affect their response to stress later in life. When the female pups become mothers themselves, the ones that received high quality care become high nurturing mothers. And the ones that received low quality care become low nurturing mothers. The nurturing behavior itself transmits epigenetic information onto the pups' DNA, without passing through egg or sperm."
            "A"
            www.witsendeventing.com

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            • #7
              A very interesting article. Thank you classen_eventer.

              Comment


              • #8
                Guess it depends upon the discipline. In the top levels of polo they almost exclusively use clones
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home

                Comment


                • #9
                  It was interesting but I felt a bit unrealistic negging the performance records of the offspring. Few had more than a couple six year olds competing so it is way too early to tell whether they will jump internationally.

                  I also felt the article characterized the reaction as somewhat negative, where the reality is that it is a terrific opportunity for a horse that was gelded early and he was quite enthusiastic about Gem Twist's clones. And time will tell, but possibly for mares who have far more limited numbers of foals they can produce. For a stallion who has produced 3k foals, I can't see the point.

                  Maybe if an exceptional stallion doesn't freeze well a clone might do better? That would be interesting.

                  To some extent all of the horses cloned have been exceptional and it is very, very rare to know what influence they will have, and few horses at that level reproduce themselves or better. Secretariat was considered a failure for a while, but turns out to be quite a terrific sire of broodmares. Ask him again in 30 years....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Gem Twist clones as stallions are an interesting case, given that the sire line was legendary for consistently passing on jumping talent (Good Twist, New Twist, Bonne Nuit). I can understand why Gem Twist was cloned, given that he was a gelding, and why the clones would be successful stallions.

                    I am VERY curious to see how the Tamarillo clone, Tomatillo, works out. Not as obvious and consistent direct sire line in terms of producing top level talent in sport as the Twist line Thoroughbreds. However... a one of a kind world class gelding, and worth paying attention to how the offspring do in the long run.

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