The world's first-ever water buffalo cloned from somatic cells died an early death Friday in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, shortly after it was born.
The calf suffered excessive bleeding when its umbilical cord was cut and was later suffocated to death by amniotic fluid chokedin its respiratory system, said Dr. Shi Deshun, head of the research project at Guangxi University.
Dr. Shi said the calf weighed 29 kilograms and had normal breathing and well-formed organs when it was born at 10:50 am Friday.
It was a Cesarean birth as the mother buffalo had shown no signs of delivery after 342 days of prolonged pregnancy, he acknowledged.
The calf was cloned with fibrocytes -- or fibrous tissues -- taken from a three-month old fetus last year, and was transplanted into a four-year-old female buffalo on December 17.
Dr. Shi said they would send the dead calf to the local public security department for a DNA test to reconfirm who its biological parents are.
"Despite its early death, the technology has proven mature because it was born quite healthy," said Dr. Luo Yanrong, a zoologist with the Nanning-based university. He said at least one more calf cloned with somatic cells would be born in March next year.