On Thursday, a Chinese company unveiled the first cloned horse born in the country to the public and approved for equestrian sport.
Since the early 2000s, several countries have used cloning to improve the genetics of competition and thoroughbred horses. “Zhuang Zhuang,” a clone of a horse imported from Germany, was born last June from a surrogate mother and was created by the Beijing laboratory Sinogene.
The black horse is the first of the “warmblood” breeds to be born in China and to be officially recognized by the China Horse Industry Association.
Warmblood horses are light horses with a lively temperament.
Equestrian sports, particularly show jumping, have made significant progress in China in recent years. However, a scarcity of high-performance horses and a lack of breeding technology are limiting growth.
“I spoke with (Chinese) athletes competing in the Olympics. They all have multiple horses, usually two or three. “Each horse costs between a few million and ten million yuan ($1.5 million),” said Mi Jidong, CEO of Sinogene.
“Cloning can assist in lowering the cost of breeding and raising horses.”
Cloning competitive horses in China should reduce the country’s reliance on expensive imported animals to supply Chinese equestrian sports.
In 2003, the world’s first cloned horse was born in Italy.
Chinese animal cloning companies have made significant progress in recent years, with technologies for sheep, cows, pigs, dogs, and cats now relatively mature.