Chandigarh: A team of scientists of Karnal-based National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) has successfully cloned a female calf from the cells of a high milk-producing buffalo.

Calf 'Swarupa' has been produced through the new and advanced 'Hand-guided Cloning Technique', while the donor cell was taken from the ear of an adult buffalo named 'Karan-Kirti' of the institute's farm, NDRI Director A K Srivastava said on Friday.

'Swarupa' weighing 32 kg was born through normal delivery, he said. Earlier, 'Purnima', a clone of 'Karan-Kirti' was born on September 6, 2013, which could survive only for 19 days. With 'Swarupa', NDRI has so far produced 11 cloned calves, out of which 3 have died.

The scientists involved in the production of 'Swarupa' were S K Singla, M S Chauhan, R S Manik, P Palta, S S Lathwal and Anuj K Raja. They said that clone calves which are produced using somatic cells from adult animals can bring revolution by copying the proven genetics many folds.

'Karan-Kirti' yielded 4,425 kg of milk in its first lactation in 427 days of lactation and had a yield of 3,812 kg in 305 days. Its peak yield of 25.1 kg was the highest daily yield of a buffalo recorded so far in the history of the Institute, Srivastava said. He said this technology could go a long way in helping to multiply the number of best milch buffaloes in India.

Although the world's largest population of buffaloes is in India and they contribute about 55 per cent of total milk production in the country, but the percentage of elite animals is very low and there is an urgent need to enhance the population of these elite buffaloes, he said.

S Ayyappan, Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) while congratulating the NDRI team said, "this new advancement in the technology of "Hand-guided Cloning" of buffaloes will facilitate faster multiplication of elite germplasm and help us face the challenges of increasing demands of milk due to the ever growing human population."