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Cloned mare born

March 30, 2006

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Purcell Okla. - The legendary cutting horse Royal Blue Boon, a registered American Quarter Horse, became the first mare to be commercially cloned when a foal was born to a recipient mare on Royal Vista Southwest farms in Purcell, Okla., on Feb. 19, 2006. The foal was born healthy and continues to thrive on the farm where she was born.

"From the time I transferred the embryo into the recipient mare, the pregnancy was normal in every way and the birth followed suit," said Dr. Jim Bailey, DVM and manager of Royal Vista Southwest, a breeding technology center in the heart of Oklahoma horse country. "The resulting foal was born normally and immediately stood to nurse. She bonded well with the recipient mare and continues to grow."

The birth of Royal Blue Boon Too, as she's euphemistically called, represents a significant advance in reproductive technology for horse breeders, giving them the opportunity to consider gene banking and cloning for important genetic lines. Gene banking, the process of taking a biopsy from a donor horse, and then preserving those cells in a frozen state for future use, is a key method for preserving bloodlines and outstanding genetics beyond the normal life of the animal. Cloning is the process of creating a twin of that champion animal, separated in time.

The owners of the mare and the cloned foal say that they are not going to use the foal as a performance cutting horse; the cloned foal will be used strictly for breeding, even though the American Cutting Horse Association allows non-registered horses to compete. The USTA and the Jockey Club do not allow cloned horses to be registered.

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