The world's first Boer goat cloned from embryonic cells gave birth to two lambs after a natural insemination in north China's port city of Tianjin on Thursday.
The lambs, a male and a female, were born at about 2:30 p.m. at the Tianjin Veterinary Research Institute, a research body that has been engaged in the embryo cloning program since 2002.
The lambs showed normal breathing, temperatures and heart rates, said Dr. Liu Haijun, head of the cloning program.
The mother goat mated a year after she was born on Nov. 2, 2005, and the five-month pregnancy and delivery went smoothly, Liu said.
The Boer goat, a species from southern Africa, grows extremely fast and yields more meat than ordinary goats or sheep. An adult Boer goat weighs about 100 kg and can provide more than 40 kg of meat.
"A major area of application for animal cloning technology is just to achieve the fast and well-bred livestock," said Ding Boliang, head of the institute.
Ding's organization introduced more than 300 purebred Boer goats for the cloning program in 2002 and has since built a genetic database.
"The smooth natural breeding of the world's first cloned Boer goat, just like any other normal Boer goat, shows China has solved the technical barriers to fast and well-bred livestock," he said.
"That will have a huge potential and great value in its application in the stock raising industry," he added.