A group of scientific researchers from the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA (Fauba) managed to clone in vitro a zebra embryo, which will allow, with technological advancement, to implement programs for the conservation of endangered wild animals, as reported from that university. The project also included the participation of the University of Rio Cuarto (UNRC) and the Temaikén Foundation and as explained, the embryos had high quality and «would serve to advance the preservation of genetic material from zebra and other species». Andrés Gambini, Professor of Equine Production at Fauba and researcher at Conicet, revealed: «We were able to produce zebra cloning embryos using mare eggs. To these eggs, provided by the University of Rio Cuarto, we took away their DNA and introduced the genetic material of zebra cells that Temaikén gave us, coming from an animal in that park.»
He added: «The embryos developed very well until day seven, when they could already be transferred to a receiving animal. As far as we know, no one had done it before.» In addition, Gambini revealed that they did another second experiment with a technique called ICSI, widely used by humans in assisted fertilization treatments.» In this case, intact mare eggs are injected with zebra sperm. That’s why the embryos we managed combined genetic information from the domestic horse and genetic information from the zebra. Technically, it’s a hybrid called zebra. These embryos also developed very well until day seven,» he confessed.
«The fact that both types of embryos were of high quality and developed in excellent condition until the seventh day shows that the techniques we use work very well and that, in the future, embryos could be successfully transferred to an animal for gestation,» the researcher explained.