Sooty the camel is ‘first beauty queen clone’ in Dubai
Scientists in Dubai create camel cloned with cells of beauty pageant queen
Arabian Business staff
Scientists in Dubai have created the first camel cloned using the cells of a beauty pageant queen, the emirate’s Camel Reproduction Centre (CRC) has said.
The female camel, nicknamed ‘Sooty’ by staff at the laboratory due to her black coat, was born three to four weeks ago, said Dr Nisar Wani, head of the reproductive biology laboratory at CRC.
“She is the first beauty queen to be cloned,” he told Arabian Business. “We had a couple of pregnancies [but] one was delivered a couple of weeks before the expected date of delivery, so she didn’t make it, but this one delivered after completing the gestation period.”
Dr Wani declined to mention the cost of cloning Sooty but said it was “a small amount compared to the original cost of the animal”. The camel is now in the care of her Emirati owner, he added.
Sooty is one of several camels to be cloned at the laboratory since its inception in 1989. The laboratory created the world’s first cloned camel, Injaz, in 2009 and has since created “dozens” more, said Dr Wani.
Doctors in Scotland cloned the world’s first mammal using DNA from an adult cell in 1996. The sheep, named Dolly, survived for six years before she died from lung disease.
Camel beauty pageants are a regular fixture across the Middle East, where the desert animals are used for meat, milk and racing.
They are also big business. In 2010 one camel sold for US$2.7m and one entrant in a beauty contest of 10,000 camels took home US$10m.
Saudi Arabia has a population of around 870,000 camels, while there are nearly 380,000 camels in the UAE and 125,000 in Oman.
CRC is supported and financed by Dubai’s ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.