LOOK: Scientists Create World’s First Cloned Arctic Wolf

by Emily Morgan

On Monday, a Beijing-based gene company officially announced the debut of the world’s first cloned wild arctic wolf. They announced the news via a video, 100 days after they welcomed the arctic wolf in a lab.

According to experts, this successful cloning is a massive scientific milestone, paving new roads for breeding more rare and endangered animals through technology.

The specific Arctic wolf, also known as the white wolf or polar wolf, lives in the High Arctic tundra of Canada’s Queen Elizabeth Islands. Wildlife researchers also consider the study a significant achievement in conserving rare and endangered species.

“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,” said Beijing-based Sinogene Biotechnology Co’s general manager Mi Jidong.

The arrival of the world’s first cloned wild arctic wolf is a significant breakthrough for the science of cloning. Conservationists and wildlife researchers hope this technology will do more for endangered species and biodiversity.

The arctic wolf, Maya, was born on June 10 and is reportedly in good health. According to scientists, its donor cell came from the skin sample of a wild female arctic wolf, which scientists had brought in from Canada to Harbin Polarland, an arctic aquarium in China.

So how exactly did this go down? According to reports, scientists created 137 new embryos from cells, followed by the transfer of 85 embryos to the uteri of seven beagles, of which one was welcomed into this world as a wolf: Maya.

Scientists rasie questions about arctic wolf cloning

Scientists decided to use a dog as Maya’s surrogate because dogs reportedly share genetic history with ancient wolves. As a reuslt, it was more likely to see success with cloning by using a dog.

The Head of the Chinese Experimental Animal Resources Research Institute for Food and Drug Control, He Zhengming, told news outlets that the cloned animals could reproduce if they have intact fertilized eggs. This new cloning technology can take all genetic information for selective breeding and diversify endangered species populations.

While many are excited about the potential of cloning animals, it’s been met with some pushback. For instance, Sun Quanhui, a World Animal Protection organization scientist, revealed that cloning technology had made significant progress. However, he says that the cloning science is still being perfected and that many technical and ethical issues need to be addressed.

Currently, Maya lives with her surrogate beagle in Xuzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province lab. Later, she will be transferred to the Harbin Polarland, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, and displayed to the public.