Dairy Cows in China's Hebei Province (2020)
Photo: VCG / VCG via Getty Images
For milk production in China, the state is dependent on importing breeds from abroad.
Now experts are apparently working on an alternative.
A team claims to have cloned cows that give significant amounts of milk, reports "CNN" with reference to state media.
We're talking about »super cows«.
The three animals, born since the end of December 2022, are said to be able to produce 18 tons of milk per year.
That is more than twice as much as a cow in Germany produced on average in 2021 and results in around 100 tons of milk per cow life.
Apparently, the starting point for the work were cells taken from the ears of Holstein cattle.
The breed is one of the world's most important for milk production, and in Germany it is mainly Holsten cattle that are used in the dairy industry.
In China, initially 120 clones of such animals are said to have been created, according to the “CNN” report, citing the state newspaper “Technology Daily”.
Three were ultimately held.
Roughly speaking, cloning works by transferring the nucleus of the removed cells into an enucleated egg cell.
This develops into a clone because it carries the genetic material of the donor cow.
In order to create a cow clone that produces a particularly large amount of milk, you need a cow with this trait as a starting point.
In China, only five out of 10,000 cows are capable of producing 100 tons of milk over their lifetime, the head of the work, Jin Yaping of Northwestern University of Agricultural and Forestry Science and Technology in Xianyang, told the CNN report according to the state newspaper Global Times.
The high productivity of the cows is often only identified at the end of their lives, which makes breeding difficult.
"We plan to build a herd of more than 1,000 super cows in two to three years," says Jin.
They should ensure China's independence in milk production.
Apparently around 70 percent of dairy cows in China are currently imported from abroad.
Experts from China keep making headlines with cloned animals.
In 2022, a company announced that it had cloned an arctic wolf for the first time.
In 2018, a research team published a paper on cloned monkeys, and a year later genetically modified monkeys were cloned.