A unique foal was shown at the San Diego Zoo (USA) - a cloned individual of Przewalski's horse, which was born on August 6. The grown up baby is very active and full of energy, which inspires his creators. Kurt, as he was named after the ideologist of the Frozen Zoo project, Kurt Benirschke, in a couple of years will become the main donor of genetic material for the revival of this unusual horse species.
It is believed that Przewalski's horses disappeared in the wild back in 1969, therefore, de facto, they are considered extinct. Only 12 individuals survived in zoos, with the help of which, at the cost of much effort, offspring of 2000 heads were obtained. And on this, everything came to a standstill, since due to the small diversity of gene sets, the risks of dangerous inbreeding arose. Attempts to cross these horses with ordinary ones only exacerbated the situation, forcing to divide the offspring into "pure" and "mixed".
In the period from 1975 to 1988, a horse named Kuporovich lived in the zoo of the city of San Diego, which had a unique and valuable genome - studies have shown that it descended from a pair of original wild Przewalski horses. Kuporovich left considerable offspring, but scientists went further and in 1980, within the framework of the Frozen Zoo project, they carried out cryopreservation of his genetic material. To take a sample 40 years later, introduce it into the embryo and clone a new horse - baby Kurt is a complete copy of his "father" Kuporovich.
The cloning process itself did not cause difficulties, the embryo was transplanted to an ordinary horse, which became a surrogate mother for Kurt. She barely has enough milk to satisfy his appetite, plus the foal is not obedient, but these are trifles. Kurt has become a living embodiment of the effectiveness of the concept of conservation of genetic material - now we know for sure that we can save many endangered species of animals and revive them in the future.