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RP to produce Southeast Asias first cloned buffal PDF พิมพ์
เขียนโดย Jonathan M. Hicap   
Thursday, 20 September 2007

September 17, 2007 By Jonathan M. Hicap

The will clone a buffalo, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. This move has the approval of the governing board of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), an agency under the Department of Science and Technology based in Los Baños, Laguna.
The Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) will implement the project dubbed “Cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer as a tool for genetic improvement in water buffaloes.” It is jointly funded by PCC and PCARRD.

The department said the project is aimed at developing a system for cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer technology in water buffalo. “Super buffalo calves” will be produced as part of this genetic improvement program.

Protocols on cloning techniques and freezing buffalo oocytes, or female egg cells, are expected to be established with about 1,300 buffalo clone embryos produced in vitro and transferred to recipient animals. A bank of somatic cells from identified superbuffaloes will also be established for future cloning efforts.

Somatic cells are cells forming the body of an organism. Somatic cell nuclear transfer is a technique that involves the production of mature buffalo oocytes in vitro or in laboratory. These oocytes will be enucleated (nucleus will be removed) to become recipient cytoplasts. In turn, the recipient cytoplasts will receive nuclear materials derived from somatic cells, such as from the ear skin of the super buffalo that will be cultured for 6-7 days in vitro. The resulting embryos will be transferred to surrogate dams to produce clones of the super buffalo.

“In essence, there will be no modification or alteration of the genetic materials, as in the case of the GMOs [genetically modified organisms],” said Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, PCC executive director and project leader.

“The project will merely allow the multiplication of the existing superior germplasms of the super buffalo,” he added.

Aside from being technically feasible, the buffalo-cloning project is also economically viable, as shown in its financial costs and benefits analysis.

It has a net present value and internal rate of return of P5.7 million and 22 percent, respectively. These indicate that it is viable, with the possibility of strong return of capital investment.

Profit inflow is attributed mainly to sales or revenue from calves and milk produced by the clones and by their first offspring. These provide strong evidence that R&D on buffalo cloning has significant impact on national economy and genetic improvement in water buffaloes in the long run.

“The implementation of this project is a test case,” enthuses Dr. Patricio S. Faylon, PCARRD executive director. “The country has high capability in conducting high-end R&D projects such as this because we have highly competent researchers and state-of-the-art research facilities such as those at PCC. This project thus is expected to deliver tremendous impact to the country,” he added.

PCARRD’s governing council is chaired by the science and technology secretary and co-chaired by the secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and of Environment and Natural Resources. Its members are the chancellor of UP Los Baños, three private sector representatives and Faylon.

Copyright 2001 The Manila Times
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