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  April 22, 2002

Cloned Cow Gives Birth
By David Bauman

Amy, the first farm animal in the United States cloned from non-reproductive cells, has given birth to a healthy 103-pound bull calf.

The calf named "Fina-Lee" was born at the Kellogg Dairy Center April 16.

"Amy finally gave birth to her own calf," said Xiangzhong (Jerry) Yang, professor of animal science and director of UConn's Center for Regenerative Biology. He explained that the famous Holstein heifer had failed to conceive in four previous breeding attempts by artificial insemination and finally conceived by natural mating.

"It was easy coming up with the name for the newborn calf," he said.

The normal birth of Fina-Lee, and of three other calves born to each of Amy's three surviving clone sisters, adds to the mounting evidence that farmers may be able to create copies of champion milk-producing cows and animals that are particularly resistant to disease. Yang said cloning also offers the possibility of deleting undesired genes, such as the "mad-cow" gene.

Amy was well known as America's first clone from an adult farm animal. She was created from the somatic cell cloning of an elite Holstein cow, Aspen, now over 15 years of age, who had long passed her reproductive age. Aspen, who produced approximately 35,000 pounds of milk per year, gave birth eight times but produced only one heifer.

The first of 10 clone sisters (six have died) all created from somatic cells taken from Aspen, Amy was born on June 10, 1999 from an embryo implanted in a surrogate mother.

Amy's three younger clone sisters - Betty, Cathy and Daisy - each gave birth to a calf in June 2001.

Yang ascribes Amy's difficulties in conceiving to individual variation, as her sister clones were cloned by the same protocol and from the same genotype.

With all four clones now lactating, it remains to be seen whether their milk production will be as high as that of their genetic mother Aspen.

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