A cloned Arctic wolf has been born from a surrogate beagle mother.
Maya is a healthy and normally formed pup but rather than being born via more traditional methods she was created in a lab in Beijing.
Sinogene, a Chinese biotech firm, are behind the historic birth and have employed the same technology as used to create Dolly the sheep, born in the UK in 1996.
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Dolly was made via a skin cell of her biological mother, and the same is true for Maya.
Maya’s birth, it’s hoped, will help pave the way for protecting the world’s endangered species.
To kick things off, 16-year-old female wolf from north-east China had her cells put into the egg of the Beagle.
The egg had had it contents stripped, providing a blank canvas for the cells that would go on to be Maya to be placed.
The cells and the egg formed an embryo and they were then transplanted into the surrogate.
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Despite being unveiled now, she was actually born in June but precautions were made to ensure she was healthy before being made public knowledge.
Maya is of course a little different to naturally-born wolves because she is genetically identical to her biological mother.
Mi Jidong, the Sinogene general manager, said at a Beijing press conference: "To save the endangered animal, we started the research cooperation with Harbin Polarland on cloning the arctic wolf in 2020.
"After two years of painstaking efforts, the arctic wolf was cloned successfully. It is the first case of its kind in the world."
There are of course some problems – because she is being raised by a beagle, Maya won’t have the skills necessary to be a successful wolf and is also the product of much trial and error.
She is understood to be the 138th embryo created, yet is the only major success story.
Of them, 85 of these embryos have been used and implanted in seven different beagles throughout the experiment.
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