The future has just arrived. In 2007 Gonzalo Pieres was treading unknown territory by taking the first steps into cloning polo ponies in Argentina, trying to clone his best mare, Chusma. In the same year but in the USA, Sage’s first clones were born, Show Me and Shawnee.
Just a few weeks ago PoloLine detailed the debut of Show Me, the first clone to play in Argentina, under Cambiaso in the Hurlingham Open, and no doubt she will play a few minutes in the Argentine Open.
That is not the only newsworthy item in the cloning world. On the 23rd October the first all-Argentine clone was born. Silvina Luna, cloned from one of Sebastian Merlos’s best ponies.
“Silvina Luna was a homebred from my bloodlines. If she wasn’t the best horse of my life, she was certainly the second. It was between her, Gurí Esperanza or Silvi Caro La Capital. I was very unlucky to lose her in July due to colic, out at grass” said Merlos. “She was an incredible mare, who anyone could play but who I hadn’t had much luck taking embryos from. I therefore decided to clone her and her mother, Modelo Duracion. I think they both have the best bloodlines I have bred.”
“The idea is to create a genetic bank, not necessarily to play high goal with the clones. We will back them for curiosity’s sake and in the same manner of the original. The same breaker, the same organisation and they will be played by the same people. As I say, we are going to try, but not with the intention that they play the Open”.
The pioneering lab that was in charge of the cloning process, with 100% Argentina technology, was Kheiron SA. This makes this prestigious lab therefore the first Argentine lab to produce a viable clone in Latin America. A member of the technical team responsible, Dr Gabriel Vichera, described the resounding success.
“The technique we used allows the clones to have the same genetics and the same characteristics of the elite donors. These processes and developments utilised in horses is the legacy of a handful of people in the world.”
2013 will be a key point in the field of breeding horses and ratifies that cloning is no longer a cinematic style trick or a utopian cliché from science fiction. The era of clones is no longer part of an abstract future but now part of the immediate present and part of polo itself. Theory proven by the recent success of Kheiron SA and the exalted Silvina Luna, who now has her own clone.
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