Astonishing advances in veterinary science lead to faster, prettier camels, with better milk yields.
Nothing is more quintessentially Arab than a camel train passing slowly through a landscape of rolling sand dunes.
For thousands of years the dromedary was an essential companion to the Bedouin thanks to its ability to endure the most extreme hardships of desert life.
But now the value of prize camels is leading to astonishing advances in veterinary science in the UAE, as owners look to make money from their beasts.
Cloning and embryo transfer are resulting in camels that run faster, produce more milk, or are more likely to catch the eye of a judge in a beauty contest.
The science was pioneered by the Camel Reproduction Centre, off the Dubai-Hatta road. It was set up more than three decades ago by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
Injaz, celebrated as the world’s first cloned camel, was created at the CRC in 2009 and lived for more than a decade.
She resulted from work by Dr Nisar Wani, who now works as scientific director at the Reproductive Biology Centre.
The expensive cloning process is now used for the most elite racing camels, among others.
“Currently we cater to the demand of UAE clients. But there is a huge demand from other Gulf countries as well,” said Dr Wani, who is from India.
«As camels are seasonal breeders, we can work on them only during this season, which is usually from October to March each year.»
Injaz, the first cloned camel in 2015 at the Reproductive Biotechnology Centre. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Injaz was the first cloned camel and lived for more than 10 years. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Cloning has captured the public imagination since Dolly the sheep came on the scene 25 years ago at the Roslin Institute in the UK.
Using a similar technique, Dr Wani creates cloned prize camels through somatic cell nuclear transfer, where genetic material is taken from non-reproductive cells and transferred into a donor egg.
This is implanted into a surrogate camel for the 13-month pregnancy.
While it sounds simple, it is actually immensely complex and has a low success rate.
But it is also a powerful technique. Somatic cell material may be stored at low temperatures so that a creature can, in a sense, be brought back to life years after death.
Read more at: https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/how-uae-camel-cloning-became-an-industry-worth-millions-of-dirhams-1.1169175#9
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