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Beagle Surrogate Mom Gives Birth to World's First Cloned Arctic Wolf, Researchers Reveal

Beagle Surrogate Mom Gives Birth to World's First Cloned Arctic Wolf, Researchers Reveal

Maya, a three-month-old wolf pup, is the world's first arctic wolf clone.

A beagle surrogate mother gave birth to the female wolf pup in June. Sinogene Biotechnology, the Beijing-based company that cloned Maya, introduced the cloned animal to the world in September.

A series of videos shared by Sinogene at a news conference showed the healthy pup playing and resting, per CNN.

To create Maya, the company used somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same laboratory technique employed to create Dolly the sheep, the world's first-ever mammal clone, over two decades ago.

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The process involves retrieving "donor cells" from a skin sample taken from the original Arctic wolf and injecting them into a female dog's egg.

beagle and arctic wolf
beagle and arctic wolf

Getty (2)

According to experts, dogs were the ideal surrogates because of the significant overlap in their genetic ancestry with ancient wolves, per Chinese media outlet The Global Times.

"To save the endangered animal, we started the research cooperation with Harbin Polarland on cloning the arctic wolf in 2020," Mi Jidong, Sinogene's general manager, said at a Beijing press conference. "After two years of painstaking efforts, the arctic wolf was cloned successfully. It is the first case of its kind in the world."

The original Maya, who provided the donor cells for the clone, died of old age last year. Her clone is currently living with her beagle surrogate mother in a Sinogene lab, The Global Times reported.

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The cloned Maya will eventually be moved to Harbin Polarland theme park, where general manager Dai Rui said she would live by herself, at least initially, as she may not be able to adapt to the existing arctic wolf groups in the park.