WTAMU Marks Historic Scientific Accomplishment with Cloned Calves

Nov. 8, 2012

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

WTAMU Marks Historic Scientific Accomplishment with Cloned Calves

CANYON, Texas—A unique public-private partnership between West Texas A&M University and industry professionals marks a historic milestone utilizing Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) reproductive technology to create cloned calves. A bull calf produced from a steer was born approximately 90 days ago, and a heifer was born Saturday, Nov. 3.

The animals from which these calves were cloned were graded Prime, Yield Grade 1, the highest quality and most sought after animals in the beef industry. The clones will be used to develop a line of cattle that will potentially produce higher value carcasses that reach USDA’s highest grade for carcass quality and yield grade in a shorter amount of time using lesscloned calf feed resources.

The project has certainly leveraged the resources of several entities. The public/private collaboration involves WTAMU’s agricultural science faculty including Dr. Ty Lawrence, Dr. David Lust, Dr. John Richeson and Kelly Jones, a Ph.D. student at WTAMU partnered with scientists from Viagen Inc. as well as Jason Abraham, Todd Stroud and Dr. Gregg Veneklasen. 

“This will be a long-term project that will require between three and five years to produce significant results,” Dr. Don Topliff, dean of the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering, said.  “We think this project will also provide us with a model to study other genetic traits beyond quality grade and yield grade that are of high importance to the sustainability of the beef WTAMU Student with a cloned calfindustry.”

Veneklasen added, “The opportunities for new discoveries that this project provides the University and the industry are limitless. This is one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on.” 

Dr. Dean Hawkins, head of WTAMU’s Department of Agricultural Sciences, oversees the project and said that students at West Texas A&M benefit from the project as well. 

“This project is the result of a team of experts working together for a common goal. The ultimate beneficiary will be our students who are able to be involved in a unique project,” Hawkins said. 

Graduate student Kelley Jones, who is the main caretaker of the calves, said there isn’t another school in the country that he could attend and have access to this kind of a project to gain invaluable experience on the cutting edge of science. 

“It has been very long hours, but the payoff is going to be unbelievable,” Jones said. 

For additional information, contact Hawkins at 806-651-2550 or dhawkins@wtamu.edu.



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Bob DeOtte
on 11.8.2012

Kudos to Ag Sciences. There is so much cool stuff going on at WT.