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World's first cloned camel unveiled in Dubai

By Bob Ewing     Apr 14, 2009 in World
The camel named Injaz, or Achievement, was unveiled to the world alongside her surrogate mother five days after being born at the city's Camel Reproduction Centre.
The project had the personal backing of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, best known in Britain as one of the world's leading racehorse owners.
"This is the first time scientists have cloned a camel calf," the scientific director of the central veterinary research laboratory, Dr Ulrich Wernery, said. "She is a healthy female."
Injaz, a female one-humped camel, was born on April 8 after more than five years of work.
The Camel Reproduction Centre wants to use the technique on some of Dubai's leading racing camels to preserve elite bloodlines for the future.
Camel racing is a popular activity, however, the child riders have been replaced by robots.
"We are all very excited by the birth of Injaz," Dr Lulu Skidmore, the centre's scientific director, said.
"This significant breakthrough in our research programme gives a means of preserving the valuable genetics of our elite racing and milk-producing camels in the future."
The animal cloning techniques used to create Injaz was first used in the case of Dolly the sheep in 1996 by scientists in Edinburgh.
Injaz was cloned from a camel slaughtered for its meat in 2005. The ovaries were removed and DNA extracted and placed in an egg taken from and re-implanted into the surrogate mother.
Tests have shown the camel's DNA to be a copy of the dead animal, not the mother.
There were a number of unsuccessful attempts before Injaz..
The Camel Reproduction Centre previously produced the world's first "Cama", the first surviving hybrid of a camel and a guanaco, a type of llama.
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