For the first time in history, scientists successfully cloned a wild arctic wolf. Sinogene Biotechnology, the Beijing-based gene firm, has released a video of Maya 100 days after her birth in the lab.

Source: Deep science & tech/YouTube

Maya’s donor cell came from a skin sample of a wild female arctic wolf. The oocyte was from a female dog, and the surrogate mother was a beagle, according to reports.

The team of scientists constructed over 130 new embryos from enucleated oocytes of a female dog and somatic cells of a wild female arctic wolf. They then transferred over 80 embryos to the uteri of seven beagles, of which one was born as a healthy wolf. Global Times reported that a beagle was selected because they share genetic ancestry with ancient wolves, and it is more likely to succeed through cloning technology.

Maya now lives with her surrogate beagle, and later she will be delivered to the Harbin Polarland, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, and displayed to the public, according to the report.

Experts say that perfecting this cloning technology will help in breeding rare and endangered animals.

While the successful birth of Maya is something to be celebrated, conservationists also warn that the idea of cloning wildlife should not offer false hope. Cloning and captive breed-to-release programs can boost wild populations and offer essential genetic diversity vital to species survival, but efforts must still be made to protect the integrity of wildlife habitats to prevent them from reaching the brink of extinction in the first place.

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