CVM Researchers First to Clone White-tailed Deer
December 22, 2003
COLLEGE STATION - In what is believed to be the first success of
its kind, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine at
Texas A&M University have cloned a white-tailed deer. A fawn,
named "Dewey," after Duane Kraemer, one of the researchers, was
born to "Sweet Pea" a surrogate mother, on May 23, 2003.
The fawn is believed to be the first successfully cloned deer,
and Texas A&M is the first academic institution in the world to
have cloned five different species. Previously, researchers at the
College of Veterinary Medicine have cloned cattle, goats, pigs and
The announcement of the successful deer cloning was delayed
until DNA analysis could be performed to confirm genetic
This breakthrough in deer cloning at the College of Veterinary
Medicine at Texas A&M was a joint project with Viagen, Inc. and
may be useful in conserving endangered deer species including the
Key West deer of Florida.
"Dewey is developing normally for a fawn his age and appears
healthy," said Dr. Mark Westhusin, who holds a joint appointment
with the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life
Sciences and is the lead investigator on the project. "A DNA
analysis confirmed that Dewey is a clone, i.e. a genetic copy of
the donor," adding that "future scientific advances resulting from
the successful cloning of the deer are expected."
The clone was produced using fibroblast cells which were
isolated from skin samples derived from a deceased white-tailed
buck, expanded in culture then frozen and stored in liquid
nitrogen. White-tailed deer oocytes were collected from ovaries of
does and matured in vitro. Two teams of research scientists led by
Dr. Mark Westhusin and Dr. Duane (Dewey) Kraemer of Texas A&M
University and Dr. Charles Long of Viagen Inc. performed the
nuclear transfer procedures and transfer of the cloned embryos.
Dewey is under the medical care of Dr. Alice Blue-McLendon, a
veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M
"With each new species cloned, we learn more about how this
technology might be applied to improving the health of animals and
humans," said Westhusin.
In December 2001, the first cloned cat was born at the College
of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University. Other cloned
animals born at the university include several litters of pigs, a
Boer goat, a disease-resistant Angus bull, and the first Brahma
"The knowledge we gain from cloning these animals could greatly
affect several areas of science and medicine," said H. Richard
Adams, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "With each
successful cloned species, we learn more about cloning procedures
and how to make the process more efficient."
White-tailed deer represent the most abundant, wide-spread big
game animal in North America. They are popular game animals and are
prized for their meat and antlers. Deer farming to produce meat and
antlers is common-place in many parts of the world, including
Texas. When breeding animals die or are harvested as a result of
hunting, cloning may provide a valuable tool for conserving the
genetics of superior animals.
Established in 1916, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas
A&M is one of the world's largest veterinary colleges and is an
international leader in animal health care and research.
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
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