September 18, 2020
Last month the San Diego Zoo was delighted to announce the arrival of a rather remarkable baby horse. The foal, Kurt, is so special because he is the world’s first ever successfully cloned Przewalski’s horse, a species that is endangered, and the focus of breeding programs around the world.
Kurt is so special because his species has undergone a ‘genetic bottleneck’. Only 12 horses founded the captive breeding program, so all 2,000 individuals alive today are closely related, and have little genetic diversity which is a risk factor for survival in a changing world. Kurt, however, is unique because he is the clone of a Przewalski’s horse that had excellent genetic variation.
San Diego Zoo took a sample from this horse in 1980 and have now used this sample to create an embryo which was implanted into a domestic horse surrogate. Baby Kurt is doing well, and with any luck his genetically diverse descendants will one day be released into the wild in the steppes of central Asia where they have not been seen roaming since 1969.
Learn more here: http://ow.ly/tXiw50BuXNn