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The following page upon cloning sport horses is a summary of a feature that appeared in the 'Z' magazine , Feb. - Mar 2006. The article appeared following the annual meeting of the WBFSH ( World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses) in December 2005 on the occasion of the 50 yrs. of existence of the BWP.

During this meeting , Doctor Nissen , the Holstein studbook manager delivered a lecture about the developments in bio -technology.

   
 

 

 

 

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The magazine article was in part set out in the form of a debate giving the 'for' and the 'against' arguments with respect to the cloning of horses. Dr. Nissen believed that breeding by cloning would mean that technical progress would stand still.

Meanwhile , Leon Melchior , chairman of the Zangersheide Stud expressed an opposite view in the article. Dr. Nissen had in his lecture concluded that by cloning horses according to the method so far repeatedly used , the level of the sport horse population would not progress. He advanced as a reason : the absence of genetic variation that other breeding methods offered. He based this upon the argument that breeding is selection and selection is progress !

Leon Melchior on the other hand does not appear to agree and he referred to a number of practical reasons in favour of horse cloning that Dr. Nissen had not made mention of during his lecture. Mr Melchior was in that connection thinking of excellent top sport horses which , for external reasons , die or become infertile at an early stage. Or of stallions that are castrated at an early age while their later sport results are of such a high level that the breeders would have been very happy if their sperm were still available.

Mr. Melchior was sure for example that there would be quite a lot of breeders who would give anything to be able to use absolute celebrities such as Gotthard in this day and age by means of a clone. He also believed that if only for the reasons mentioned above , he would look upon the cloning of horses as a welcome and in some cases even     indispensable step to bring sport horse breeding to the highest level. He also stated that Studfarm Zangersheide was the first more than 30 yrs. ago to develop and apply AI against a storm of protest.

Studbook Zangersheide vwz has decided to register clone foals and to give them passports. The determination of the ancestry would be correctly stated via DNA. They register as breeder of the clone the owner of the cells from which the clone was created. They register as owner of the clone the person upon whose instruction the cloning took place.

Ideas about new techniques can thoroughly change in a relatively short period of time.

We at Greenacres Stud can see the merits in both arguments as put forward above. We will be watching the situation closely and will meanwhile be mulling over the long term implications for our breeding programme should cloning become the norm rather than the exception to current common practices.

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