When we lost Neapolitano Pegasus in 2007,
after a while I wanted another horse to ride. A nationwide hunt failed
to turn up anything I really wanted, since what I really wanted
was another Marc,
my 30 year old Lipizzan stallion Pluto III Marcella. We embarked
on a project to create one.
Newman Equine associate Dr. Adam Eicherberger
looked into the equine cloning being done by world leader Dr.
Katrin Hinrichs at Texas A&M University on my behalf. We
began with collecting and banking Marc's genes. Fascination with
actually being able to do this led us to enter into a research
agreement with TAMU and a journey that has been the wildest roller-coaster,
learning experience, and source of joy and heartache anyone could
A foal almost made it to term in 2009 in Texas
but was still-born. This is the story of Mouse, who lived to
three months. A third foal we called Monkey was lost near term
in July, 2010. The surrogate mom Missy was with us for several
months before the loss. See The
Tale of Monkey.
However you might feel about the cloning of
animals, I can tell you from personal experience it is a miracle.
To see a miniature version of a beloved partner before your eyes
and to watch him develop into his own person, based on his own
life experiences, is positively amazing! The science is equally
fascinating. The research has contributed tremendously to many
advances in reproduction, including the human kind.
Mouse was the fifteenth live horse clone foal
in the world that can be verified by published scientific data.
Others are claimed in the popular press and anecdotally but remain
to be proven.
Having never had human children, I now totally
understand the extreme anxiety, effects of sleep deprivation,
having to make hard decisions, fear that they might be wrong,
bliss when they turn out OK, virtual obsession with watching
eating, sleeping, elimination, playing, with each event a milestone,
that a child brings with him or her. That mine had four legs
makes these feelings no less real.
For more information on the cloning of horses,
Google Dr. Katrin Hinrichs.