An Upper Hunter organisation says it is watching closely an attempt by one of its members to clone the first horse in Australia.
The West Australian based Marriot family is attempting to clone the Polocrosse champion ‘East Lynne Plucker’.
The Upper Hunter Stock Horse society says at the moment cloning is a very expensive alternative to sending animals overseas, but predicts it will change the face of the international trade.
American experts who have successfully cloned more than 250 horses world-wide have been enlisted to help with the process.
Director of the cloning consortium, Jeremy Marriott says by August/September they should have several embryos ready to implant into a number of mares.
“We’ve created live cultures of Plucker,” he said.
“We’re in the process now of collecting eggs.
“From there we’ll strip out the DNA out of the existing eggs, effectively leaving an egg shell and take the genetic DNA from the cell cultures we have in the Petri dish and put those into the eggs.
“Come the start of the breeding season we’ll have a number of embryos ready for implant.”
Mr Marriott says whilst P2, as it is being called, will be exactly the same as East Lynne Plucker, the nature of the horse will be determined by how it is reared.
“The horse will be bred with the same DNA, and will hit the ground exactly the same DNA as Plucker.
“The things that will change – his demeanour, his temperament and his ability – ultimately will be environmental factors, as to how he’s trained, how he’s broken in and obviously some other things around whether he was born on the left side of the hill in a thunder storm.”