By: April Carson
Chinese scientists have recently achieved a groundbreaking accomplishment: cloning three "super cow" calves. These bovine creatures, when fully grown, possess the remarkable ability to produce 50% more milk than typical American cows.
Last year, the Northwest University of Agricultural and Forestry Science and Technology in Shaanxi, China began a cloning experiment. The scientists embarked on an ambitious mission: to harvest tissue from cows all over the country before utilizing the somatic cell nuclear transfer method to create embryos which were then inserted into surrogate cows.
The result was three calves born in June 2020 that are now known as the "super cows." These animals possess a gene that makes them more efficient milk producers than their typical American counterparts. This gene enables them to produce up to 50% more milk with the same amount of feed, allowing for far greater productivity from dairy farms.
Last month, joyous news emerged from Lingwu City: healthy calves had been born! Although the first calf was only 120 pounds and 2' 6" tall, it possessed the same shape and skin pattern as its parent cows. A feat of genetic engineering celebrated by scientists who revealed their success to state-owned media outlets through The Global Times.
These amazing super cows promise much for the future of China’s dairy industry. In a country where there is increasing demand for milk, genetic engineering could potentially provide the solutions needed to meet production goals. Not only will it result in more efficient use of resources but also a decrease in costs and labor, as fewer animals will be required to produce the same amount of milk.
Chinese scientists have stated that the calves will generate eighteen tons of milk annually or one hundred tons throughout their lifetime. In comparison to US cows, which according to US Department of Agriculture figures create nearly twelve tons per year on average, these numbers are truly impressive.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has declared that meat and milk from a cloned cow are equal in safety to those derived from conventionally bred animals, assuring consumers of their nutritional quality. With their superior milk production, the cloned cows have the potential to revolutionize dairy farming in China and beyond.
In addition to providing a higher quality and quantity of milk, these cloned animals could drastically reduce labor and costs associated with raising livestock.
By incorporating Holstein Friesian cows, a type of Dutch cattle renowned for producing an abundance of milk, Chinese scientists have created the highly-coveted "super cow". This particular experiment gained widespread attention last year when the first cloned arctic wolf was developed by China. As imports are essential to sustain the dairy industry and other agricultural industries in the nation, this breakthrough has been celebrated as especially significant.
The success of the experiment is due to cutting-edge technology, such as gene editing and cloning. By analyzing genetic data collected from Holstein Friesian cows and utilizing cloning techniques, researchers were able to create animals that produce an increased quantity of milk.
As demand for milk and cheese continues to surge, China looks abroad to import approximately 70% of its dairy cows. Despite having 6.6 million Holstein Friesian cows in the country, only 0.05% are equipped to produce an abundance of milk according to a Global Times report.
The development of super cows could replace the need for importing dairy from abroad. This improved self-sufficiency is likely to have positive economic impacts, as well as positively affect China's environmental footprint and global food security. Furthermore, it promises to be beneficial to both dairy suppliers and consumers in terms of cost and quality.
Dr. Yaping Jin, a bovine veterinarian at Northwest A&F University, spearheaded an experiment to revitalize China's agricultural sector through cloning. After 200 days, his team successfully implanted over 100 cloned embryos into surrogates with an impressive 18% pregnancy rate
The newly born calves will be used as the basis for a larger herd of super cows, Jin added. Thanks to their superior genes, these cows will produce more than 30% more milk per day and live longer than regular cattle.
To drastically reduce China's reliance on foreign dairy cows, we plan to invest two to three years into constructing a herd of over 1,000 super cows that will serve as a strong foundation. The project is a long-term investment but we are confident that it will pay off in the end, Jin said.
The success of this cloning experiment marks an important milestone in China's agricultural sector, providing a potential solution to food security and sustainability issues. With more research and development, we hope that these cows can offer a brighter future for our farmers and the industry as a whole. We believe that this is only the beginning of something special.
By cloning cows, we can maximize their innate potential, which will lead to better milk yields, improved health, and higher fertility rates.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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