Two companies, Clone2, of Moscow, Idaho, and ViaGen, Inc., of Austin, Texas, now offer commercial equine cloning services.
Working with the University of Idaho team that cloned three mules in 2003, Clone2 charges a flat fee of $367,000 for a cloning attempt, plus royalties for resulting foals. To produce two or three clones, the scientists implant eggs with the desired DNA in about 100 mares.
"Based on our work with the mules, we had a foaling rate of about 2.65 percent," says Dirk Vanderwall, DVM, PhD, of the university's Northwest Equine Reproduction Laboratory. "But as we develop the technology, we expect the number [of clones produced] to increase."
Viagen, a company known primarily for cloning cattle and swine, is now offering horse clones in partnership with Encore Genetics, an equine marketing firm. According to ViaGen president Mark Walton, PhD, the company has already begun cloning several performance Quarter Horses.
ViaGen/Encore Genetics charges $150,000 for a single clone, and says Walton, "We will give it our best effort to deliver a foal. If we are not successful in the first attempt, we will make additional attempts."
This article originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of EQUUS magazine. Share your thoughts on cloning in the