The landscape of equine reproduction research dramatically changed yesterday (May 29) when a University of Idaho (UI) and Utah State University team announced they were the first to clone a member of the equine family–the mule–according to an article to be published in the journal Science. The research team includes Gordon Woods, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACT, UI professor of animal and veterinary science; Kenneth L. White, PhD, Utah State University professor of animal science; and Dirk Vanderwall, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, UI assistant professor of animal and veterinary science.

University of Idaho–© Phil Schofield

Idaho Gem at his May 29 debut.

“Idaho Gem,” a mule colt, was born on May 4 at the UI’s animal and veterinary science department in Moscow, Idaho, but researchers had to wait to announce his arrival. They first had to verify whether he was genetically identical to DNA from a fetal cell culture first established at UI in 1998. After genetic verification, researches submitted a manuscript summarizing the project to Science. It was fast-tracked to publication, and the announcement was made to coincide with the journal’s online publication date of the article.

In cloning, using microsurgery