Agence France Presse

Beijing, May 27

Scientists in China announced on Monday they had successfully cloned a rare species of cattle that is on the verge of extinction, state media reported.

A clone calf from the species was born on April 27 by Caesarean operation, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The calf, named Boeve, was one of a breed of beef cattle from the northern Hebei province, Professor Li Ning of the Chinese University of Agriculture (CUA) said. The breed was not named.

Xinhua said thousands of the pure-blooded cattle had existed in Hebei in the 1970s, but cross-breeding with foreign breeds dramatically brought down the number of thoroughbreds.

The aim of the cloning project, conducted using stem cell cloning technology, was to sustain the genetic resources of the thoroughbred.

Li said another 20 cloned cattle were expected to be born from June 11.

The project was conducted by the CUA, the Beijing Jiyinda Science and Technology Co and the Lutai farm in Hebei.

Cows and goats have already been cloned in China and biologists say they hope to breed a cloned panda in the next one or two years.