What is the purpose of creating clones ?
Cloning must be viewed as a genetic enhancement tool available to geneticists and breeders.
Reasons for cloning can differ widely from one to another but they always respond to field simple mechanisms and pinpoint goals :
- To produce an individual identical to its model. That is the dream of somebody whose hope is to acquire a champion by using it's performer's genetic duplicate.
- To recover the ability to provide a line descent to a sterile or subfertile individual. This is obviously the case of the gelding champion the clone of which will become a stallion as well as old stallions still to play a part but unfortunately sterile.
- To increase an individual offspring so that it will more widely contribute to the genetic improvement. This is the case for exceptional mares.
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Not to mention as well applications which today do not relate to horses but which are considered for other species :
- To produce several identical individuals to get a more accurate genetic value information by averaging them.
- To produce cloned embryos to have some immuno-compatible stem cells available : those would contribute to reconstitute replacement tissues.
- To produce identical transgenic animals : cloning is just a tool in the transgenesis technology : we can modify a cell lineage by introducing a foreign gene, using afterwards those modified cells as clones roots.