May 20, 2010

Spanish Scientists Clone Fighting Bull

Scientists from Spain announced Wednesday that they have cloned a fighting bull for the first time.

Vicente Torrent, a veterinary genetics specialist, said the newborn calf, named Got, is an exact replica of his father, named Vasito, a fighting bull who died in March after life as a stud.

Got was born on Tuesday near the town of Palencia in northern Spain. On Wednesday it weighed 53 pounds. Scientists said a second clone of Vasito is expected to be born in the coming days.

Fighting bulls are raised for bullfights and most die in the ring. Some manage to outlive their purpose and spend the rest of their lives as studs.

Torrent says his team is hopeful Got will grow to show the same fierce traits that made his father such a valuable specimen. He said it took about three years of work to devise the means of preserving what he called valuable bull genes.

He added that their success "highlights a technique that could be used to help species under threat of extinction."

Torrent said he had at first considered an Iberian lynx, the world's most threatened feline species, but decided to start with a bull.