After Garima, India gets Noorie! Strife-torn Kashmir has achieved a rare feet in the scientific research as its scientists gave India the second cloned animal and the world its first cloned Pashmina goat - Noorie (The Light).
Scientists at faculty of veterinary sciences and animal husbandry of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST-Kashmir) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat using the advanced reproductive techniques under the leadership of Riaz Ahmad Shah.
Forty-three-year-old Shah, associate professor of Centre of Animal Biotechnology at SKUAST, was also the key researcher in the team of scientists at National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana in 2009 that gave India the first cloned buffalo calf ‘Garima’.
It took two years for Shah and his eight member highly- skilled scientists’ team to produce Noorie which was born on March 9 using a foster mother. Success was achieved under the World Bank-funded National Agricultural Innovation Project of Indian Council of Agricultural Research and took two years for standardisation of the technique.
“This technology is limited to a few countries in the world. But our team worked day and night to achieve this feat,” said Shah. “The successful cloning technology will not only help the pashmina productivity in future but will also help in rescuing some of the wild life species such as Hangul (the state animal of J&K which has been classified as critically endangered animal.”
Pashmina goats are found in the cold desert of Ladakh. People in the region rear the goats for the wool which is used to make the exquisite Pashmina shawls and jamawars that has a very high demand in and outside Kashmir. Pashmina industry also provides livelihood to lakhs of Kashmiris who weave the hand-made plain as well as embroidered shawls.
Professor in-charge, Centre of Animal Biotechnology, Nazir Ahmad Ganai said the success of this (cloning) technology shall open new vistas in strategic and applied research.
“It will help in multiplication of elite animals of desired sex, stem cell technology for regenerative medicine, transgenic for production of biopharmaceuticals like Factor IX, alpha1 anti-trypsin etc of value in human medicine, cloned animals as disease models, and conservation of threatened wild and domestic animal species,” he said.
Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-Kashmir Tej Partap hoped the technology will help in harnessing better income opportunities for the people of the Ladakh region.