Cloning didn’t stop with Dolly the sheep. In fact, a Haflinger filly named Prometea was born in Italy in 2003. She was the first horse ever successfully cloned. A clone is an exact genetic copy of another. Research has questioned whether the animal would be normal and resemble the original horse. Scientists are still in the beginning stages, but enough is know to ask the horse industry whether this is a good idea or not.
The cloned foal is, for the most part, an exact replicate of the original. However, there is a chance for variance. This can include a slight difference in height, either taller or shorter, and the clone could have more or less bone.
The equine industry is in favor of cloning because it can preserve rare genetics and even breeds. Some endangered equine species like Przewalski’s horses can be cloned to help the breed survive. Other times, champion geldings are unable to produce offspring. Given a second chance, the foal can be left a stallion.
If not careful, there is also a few concerns that those against this research insist upon. Some horse owners argue the genetic pool is already small enough with certain lines. A few major genetic diseases have been passed down from a single sire. Those who oppose want to keep genetic diversity alive and thriving. Many breeds registries refuse to register clones, as well.
There is more than just genetics alone when producing champion horses. Horse trainers and owners must consider the effects of the horse’s environment, diet, and training. These too can make or break a successful career. What are your thoughts on the issue? Are you in favor or opposed to cloning?