Do you dream of bagging a trophy deer? Sportsmen may soon be able to hunt deer cloned from the genetic material of trophy bucks. Eventually, hunters may even be stalking an extinct species of massive deer known as the “Irish Elk.” As improbable as it may sound, scientists have already used cloning to create genetically identical duplicates of trophy deer.
Meet Dewey, the first cloned white tailed deer.
Scientists at Texas A & M University celebrated the birth of Dewey, the first cloned deer, on May 23, 2003. Dewey’s genetic material came from a deceased trophy buck. A surrogate mother doe was implanted using the well established somatic cell nuclear transfer technique.
On his tenth birthday, the Houston Chronical described Dewey as living a pampered lifestyle and weighing 175 pounds. Keith Randall of the Texas A & M news staff describes Dewey as growing huge antlers every year, including one 38 point non-typical rack.
The results with Dewey demonstrated cloning from a deceased trophy buck’s genetic material produced a living twin buck who was able to grow huge antlers and successfully reproduce.
One cloned deer is not enough to start a herd, but twenty are.
Texas quarter horse rancher Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen have obtained a patent on a cloning process which they have used to produce about 20 cloned deer, along with about 170 cloned quarter horses.
Although producing clones is costly, a game farm can obtain identical deer cloned from monster bucks to use as premium breeding stock, Clearly, cloned deer may soon become a part of the game farm trophy hunting experience in the near future.
Even the giant extinct Irish Elk may be cloned soon.
Cloning from a species of deer still roaming the earth is is one thing but what about resurrecting the Irish Elk, a species of deer extinct at least 7,000 years? Believe it or not, as reported in Live Science, an extinct Pyrenean Ibex has already been successfully cloned, although the newborn did not survive long. While obstacles still exist, scientists expect to find ways to clone many extinct animals, possibly even the Irish Elk.
The Irish Elk is the largest deer species to ever roam the earth, standing up to 7 feet tall at the shoulder and growing antlers up to 12 feet wide. Several complete specimens are on display at the National Museum of Ireland. Cloning technology has existed for about 50 years so the progress to date suggests even cloning the extinct Irish Elk might be possible in the not so distant future.