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Texas A&M scientists clone world's first deer

COLLEGE STATION -- In what is believed to be the first success of its kind, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University have cloned a white-tailed deer. A fawn, named "Dewey," after Duane Kraemer, one of the researchers, was born to a surrogate mother several months ago.

The fawn is believed to be the first successfully cloned deer and Texas A&M is the first academic institution in the world to have cloned five different species. Previously, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine have cloned cattle, goats, pigs and a cat.

The announcement of the successful deer cloning was delayed until DNA analysis could be performed to confirm genetic identity. This breakthrough in deer cloning at the College of Veterinary Medicine was a joint project with Viagen, Inc. and may be useful in conserving endangered deer species including the Key West deer of Florida, researchers say.

"Dewey is developing normally for a fawn his age and appears healthy," said Dr. Mark Westhusin, who holds a joint appointment with the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences and is the lead investigator on the project.

"A DNA analysis confirmed that Dewey is a clone, i.e. a genetic copy of the donor," adding that "future scientific advances resulting from the successful cloning of the deer are expected."

The clone was produced using fibroblast cells which were isolated from skin samples derived from a deceased white-tailed buck, expanded in culture then frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen. White-tailed deer oocytes were collected from ovaries of does and matured in vitro.

Two teams of research scientists led by Westhusin and Dr. Duane (Dewey) Kraemer of Texas A&M University and Dr. Charles Long of Viagen Inc. performed the nuclear transfer procedures and transfer of the cloned embryos. Dewey is under the medical care of Dr. Alice Blue-McClendon, a veterinarian at the College of Ve
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Contact: Sherylon Carroll
s-carroll@tamu.edu
979-862-2369
Texas A&M University
22-Dec-2003


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