Peru is taking a patriotic leap into the unknown by attempting to become the first country in the world to clone alpacas.
The team, headed by Martha Valdivia Cuya, will work with the University Mayor de San Marcos to carry out their pioneering work.
“In alpacas this is new,” Valdivia told Agencia Andina. “Nobody has divided the alpaca embryo before. No group in the world has done it. With this project, we will be able to divide the embryo into two equal parts to then transfer them.”
Valdivia and members of her team have been waiting 20 years to make this dream into a reality, according to El Comercio, and they finally gained funding through winning government initiated competition Innóvate Perú (Innovate Peru).
The team of experts consists of 25 people, among them biologists, zoologists, vets, teachers and postgraduate students. The funding allowed the inauguration of a new reproduction laboratory at the UNMSM.
The group have done extensive research and have practiced with cloning cows, something with Japan pioneered. They have also learned from the case of world-famous cloned sheep Dolly, to make sure their clones don’t age prematurely like she did by using new sperm and ovaries.