A new scientific breakthrough is creating a buzz among camel racers and breeders.
Gulf News daily reports that since the world's first birth of 10 pre-sexed embryo transfer calves in April 1999, researchers in Queensland, Australia, have developed a new technique to determine the sex of camel embryos.
The revolutionary technology can also be used to split the female embryo to create twins. This can help camel breeders increase the number of female camels, which are favored for racing or breeding programs.
"A camel has a slow breeding system, it takes about 2 years...this [technology] will provide a higher percentage of offspring capable of racing," said Dr. Alex Tinson, who was familiar with the technology.
While the project officially began in March 1998, research has been conducted for more than a decade. The new time-saving technique, developed by Camelot Biosciences of Australia, in conjunction with the Embryo Research Center, allows for the identification and isolation of DNA sequences present only in males. Camelot Biosciences explained to Gulf News sources that the embryo's gender can now be determined with 100 percent accuracy when the embryo is seven days. The technique employs the newest computer systems and assay techniques, and reportedly does not affect pregnancy in camels. "The new system can analyze up to 32 samples in two hours. It will also help in the conservation of endangered animals (i.e. Bactrian camel in China), for females are more valuable" Brian King, owner of Camelot Biosciences told Gulf news.
Prior to this technology, several experienced scientists were required to perform a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. This cutting edge system now reduces both manpower and contamination associated with the previous technique.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)