By Martin Morris
Scientists achieve Mideast first as part of nation’s stem cell research programme.
Iranian scientists have become the first in the Middle East to successfully clone a calf as part of the country's stem cell research programme, the leader of the project said Saturday.Iran’s Press TV reported the calf known as 'Bonyana' - meaning the foundation and principle - came as the result of a considerable number of in-vitro fertilisations (IVF) in more than 100 recipient cows.
The calf, born at the Royan Institute in Isfahan, follows the successful cloning of various farm animals, including a lamb named 'Royana' and a kid named 'Hanna'.
It was born, via cesarean section, after 270 days of pregnancy and is reported to be in good health.
Dr. Mohammed Hossein Nasr e Isfahani, head of the Institute, said the cloning of animals could lead to advances in medical research, including using them to produce human antibodies against various diseases.
He added that the Institute also had the capability to preserve animals on the verge of extinction through cloning.
Iran's religious leaders have issued decrees authorizing animal cloning but banning any attempts at human cloning.