Joined: 17-March 03
From: Leeds, UK
Member No.: 67
i've just been reading a scientific report on Idaho Gem, the world's first cloned equine. would any of you consider storing your arabian's dna for future cloning? maybe you have already saved material from past or present horses? would you breed to a cloned stallion and keep certain bloodlines going indefinitely? will the first equine cloned for commercial or sentimental reasons be arabian? it wouldn't suprise me - some of us have far too much money to play with!
This kind of progress makes me feel sick. What will the future look like? Nobody will be interested in trying to become good breeders. Those with money will just pick out the kind of horse they like, and get themselves a copy. Just imagine the shows: all the horses looking the same, because everyone who can afford it got a copy of last year's champion!! No need to choose a good stallion carefully, no waiting in suspense to see whether the waiting has paid off. No one-in-a-million-foal, because everyone with enough cash has one already. Get your perfect Arabian off the supermarket shelf. Sounds like something out of a cheap horror film.
I can only hope that the WAHO refuses to register cloned horses, as does the thoroughbred stud book with horses born of AI.
Yes, that's how it will start. Different people have different ideas as to what is a good reason for cloning. And I can guess how it will work out. If you can't have kids, why not just get yourself cloned? It's the same kind of thing, in my opinion!
Lots of lines have died out, that's nature. It's up to good breeders to try to preserve them, not to artificially produce copies. I guess if you could produce clones of long-dead horses, then that's what people would be ding now, producing Nazeer and Tuhotmos copies. I guess a lot of SE breeders would just love that, but just how great for the breed would that be? I thought the whole point of breeding was to look to the future and IMPROVE, instead of dwelling in the past and reproducing.
Joined: 18-March 03
Member No.: 118
You can "clone" the body and physical characteristics, but what about the divine "spirit?; that part of them that is truly unique?
No thanks! As much as I've loved each and every creature who shared my life, a "clone" of them would just not be the same. I agree with Guest. Sometimes nature has better ideas. We muck things up enough without trying to play "god." I truly believe in doing our level best to preserve rare lines and other wonderful species, but I believe there are times when it's just meant to be that they leave us. Perhaps they are beckoned to a "higher" calling.
Joined: 10-March 03
From: Baden-Baden, Germany
Member No.: 2
No, you can't "clone" the body or physical characteristics or the type of a horse. This is what most people are not aware - that by "cloning" you don't get the identical result. If you clone Ansata Halim Shah (just for instance) you certainly will get not a horse that LOOKS like Ansata Halim Shah. You just get a horse with the same DNA.
For instance you would like to have a clone of your pet. You have a dog with a white face and black markings around the left eye. You would expect the "clone" has the same markings. Wrong. The clone will not have the same markings nor will he have the same "look". You get the same DNA but certainly not the same individual.
There are several cloned sheep and cattle already and there you perfectly see that the "clones" don't look like twins - they look just like another sheep or cattle. The same goes with horses. So what you get is just the "blood".
Is it rellay so important to save a certain bloodline - that you need to clone horses? Could it be that there is a REASON a certain bloodline dies out?
Joined: 31-March 03
Member No.: 257
I too see cloning as a genetic disaster.
As for the argument - what about lines that die out - have you ever stopped and thought - maybe there is an inherent weakness in those lines or a reason why those lines died out?
Many historians of the breed bemoan the loss of this horse or that horse, but one must also think - perhaps there was a reason why that breeder sold that horse without papers?
Why preserve lines that are short lived, or subfertile? I know that a lot of people focus these days on beauty, however the main features should be genetic viability - things such as soundness, fertility and longevity.
Joined: 16-March 03
Member No.: 28
Apart form the ethical points of view, I'd like to point out that, as far as I understand, what is called "cloning" is not cloning at all. The real cloning is to have one individual reproduce itself. Like breaking a plant into two and creating two plants. These are truly genetically identical. This is not the case with what is done now in animals, as far as I know. A cell is taken from one individual, the nucleus is removed and replaced by the nucleus of another individual. So the genetic material in the nucleus is replaced, which makes it a combination of two individuals. The genetic material present in the mitochondrion is not replaced, so the DNA present in the cell stems from two indviduals. Also, the whole environment surrounding the nucleaus comes from the original individual, which may influence the expression of genes, who knows. Even if the nucleus were replaced by the nucleus of another cell of the same individual, it is questionable whether that would be the same as proper cloning, although in that case really only one individual would be involved. I'd be curious to hear the opinion on this of someone knowlerdgeable in the field.
I do not approve of cloning animals in general and I can't think of a circumstance where I would support cloning an Arabian horse, regardless of the rarity. I would, however, like to make a comment regard the issue of rarity. It is true that certain lines have fertility problems or health problems, and in cases where these are genetically transmitted traits, we may ultimately be doing an injustice to the breed by insisting on preserving them...whatever it takes. This is one of those breeding questions which must be carefully considered within the context of common sense and ethics (to preserve or not to preserve). While no line should be considered "priceless" ONLY because it is rare, I also feel it is a serious error to automatically assign a stigma of "weakness" to any line merely based on its rarity. We should not forget that in our contemporary realm, human beings and not nature are primarily responsible for the propagation of any particular family line within the breed. Arabian stallions and mares are paired (and their blood perpetuated) according to the whims of human beings, not according to the natural order. Such things as fashion fads, commercial promotion, physical and social accessibility as well as human judgment are all "unnatural" factors which weigh heavily on propagation. It is a fact that numerous lines have become somewhat rare only because certain stallion owners didn't like certain mare owners, or certain mare owners refused to breed their mares to outside stallions, or breeder X decided to make a problem for breeder Y by starting negative rumors about their bloodlines. Really, when you think all of that can happen to inhibit the perpetuation of our many lines, it is almost a miracle when horses DO fall into the right human hands and are used to their optimum potential. All it takes is one person, the right person, to see what others have failed to recognize, to save a great line from extinction. Let's not forget that if it were not for the insight of Von Szandtner, Nazeer would likely have been lost to oblivion. Think of the breed icons who would have never been born had Nazeer not been retrieved and brought back to the EAO.
If it ever becomes possible to clone any individual horse as an identical replica of another, I hope I won't be around to see it. Real beauty in life is manifested in contrast and diversity, and the real thrill of breeding is expressed by the skill of the artist. If creating exact duplicates via a strictly scientific method was possible, breeding great horses would require no more talent than running a print of a Rembrandt through a photocopy machine. If all things were alike, if all things were equally "beautiful", beauty itself would cease to exist for lack of contrast. Caryn
Joined: 24-March 03
Member No.: 217
Surely with many horses it's what's inside that counts? - I dont mean to sound like a SAP when I say that, what I mean is you get some horses that are almost perfect examples of the breed but dont have any heart. T hen you get horses who have many many faults yet think they are the greatest thing on earth - they have heart. Just like'freak' TB's who win on the racetrack despite not having the breeding or conformation to do so.
It's whats inside - their personality, their will to win, the fire in their bellies that makes them into who/what they are.
Surely that cant be cloned? they are one-off's? aren't they????
Joined: 7-May 03
Member No.: 405
When reading this topic I had no other choice than to write back and reply with thanks and hurray. We still have a lot of sane people in this world. Sometimes we tend to loose our trust when reading a lot of things (Yes even in this Forum). I thought this is a wonderful discussion and I should not have expected otherwise from the Arab breeders. It is about the horse and not about ourselves and our fantasies of keeping a treasure like a beautifull horse forever. If this is our aim in breeding, a horse to clone, then there is no point in breeding.
Joined: 21-March 03
Member No.: 192
good morning Louise
you said it in a nutshell. this is what I mean by "testing" You can have a chicken heart and you can have a tiger under the skin. courage is a wonderful part, in all that is alive and ticking.But you really only can tell, when such horse is under your seat.