Cloned cattle crowned Iowa State Fair champs - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Cloned cattle crowned Iowa State Fair champs


NEAR HAWARDEN, Iowa (KTIV) -- In a way one Siouxland Steer took a top prize at the Iowa State Fair, not once but twice. Their names? Wade... and Doc. You can bet these cloned cattle have many seeing double.

This is Wade, the 2008 Iowa State Fair Champion Steer. This is Doc, the 2010 Iowa Champion Steer. Look familiar? Well they should, that's because Doc is a Wade's Clone.

"It may sound like science fiction to outside parties but to those in the cattle barn it's really a common occurrence," says Dr. Faber.

Dr. David Faber a veterinarian by education, bought Wade for his son at a farm like this a few years ago. Faber liked the steer so much he wanted another, so he just made one.

"We decided he was a high quality animal that we wanted a genetic copy of," says Dr. Faber.

Dr. Faber worked with this woman Diane Broek from Bovance a cattle cloning company to create the now two time champ. She says this day and age cloning is common as sometimes a stud steer is to good to let go.

"They come along once in a great while and when the opportunity is presented to a farmer or rancher certainly they would like the ability to capitalize on it," says Bovance General Manager Diane Broek.

"Now none of these animals are clones but if a farmer wanted they could be all they'd need to do is take a cell sample from their ear," says Forrest.

From there the cattle DNA is extracted from the cell, placed in a embryo, and fertilized. It can be a bit costly at about 17 grand a piece, but you'll still have the genetic reserves if you decide to clone again.

"We produce a cell line that has cells that are genetically identical to the elite animal and they can use that cell line repeatedly in the years to come," says Broek.

Both Wade and Doc have moved on to the green pasture in the sky, but their legacy will live on, for their genes.

"It's a great way to increase the impact those animals have," says Dr. Faber.

Now you may be wondering how much is nature, how much is nurture when it comes to raising a clone to be a champ. Dr. Faber says it's about 25% genetics and 75% human influence.

Online Reporter: Forrest Saunders

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