The Beijing genetics company SinoGene was the first in the world to clone a wolf. Scientists took a somatic cell from a skin sample of a wild polar wolf named Maya, who died in August 2021. The wolf cub was carried by a beagle dog, as this breed shares genetic origins with ancient wolves. The cloning was done using the same technique as Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned in Scotland in 1996. Scientists performed it by transplanting the nucleus of a somatic cell into the cytoplasm of an egg cell.
In June of this year, the cloned puppy was successfully born. At birth, the female weighed 520 grams and her body length was 22 centimeters. The company purposely did not announce the cub’s birth until it was 100 days old. The little wolf cub was also given the nickname Maya. Now the cub is in good health and is safely developing as a normal Arctic wolf pup.
Despite the division of opinion over animal cloning, scientists believe this method will save many endangered species in the future:
“We started a research collaboration with Harbin Polarland to clone the Arctic wolf in 2020. After two years of effort, the Arctic wolf was successfully cloned. This is the first such case in the world. We will continue to work in this area. In the next stage, we can clone rare wild animals, and it will be more difficult than cloning dogs and cats, for example,” said Sinogene Biotechnology Director Mi Jidong.