BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Pallab Ghosh reports
"Currently the best horses are neutered males"
 real 28k

Professor Twink Allen
explains the science
 real 28k

Friday, 18 May, 2001, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Scientists produce test-tube horses
Quickzee and Eazee were created in a test-tube
Quickzee and Eazee were created in a test-tube
Scientists in Newmarket, UK, have produced Europe's first test-tube foals.

Five-week-old Quickzee and his brother Eazee, who is six weeks old, were born following IVF treatment similar to that used to help people with fertility problems.

The foals are part of a research programme designed to create better horses for eventing, show jumping and dressage.

But they are not being bred for racing as the sport has very strict rules on breeding.

Test-tube foals have been produced twice before - by researchers in Australia - but the scientists in Newmarket believe they have developed a more reliable technique.

Sperm is injected into an egg using an ultra-thin glass tube
Sperm is injected into an egg using an ultra-thin glass tube
Sperm is injected into an egg using an ultra-thin glass tube. Researchers then grow the resulting embryos in test tubes for eight days before carefully implanting them inside surrogate mares.

Professor Twink Allen of the Equine Fertility Unit in Newmarket said the technique could make it easier to modify the genes of horses in the laboratory to improve their performance.

"I personally see nothing wrong with it," he told the BBC.

"We breed horses with an intention to win at Badminton, or jump the jumps at Hickstead, or whatever it might be, and if we can create one that does it better by putting the right gene in place then why not?"

Condemnation

He said that although he planned to try genetic modification, the technology in horses was "a little way down the road".


I think if you are going to do any procedure to an animal you have to justify it morally

Joyce D'Silva, Compassion In World Farming
"We're waiting for our colleagues in mice and rats and laboratory rodents to teach us what to do," said Professor Allen. "But if and when they do, and can, we will be there."

However, the research has been condemned by the animal welfare organisation Compassion In World Farming.

"I think if you are going to do any procedure to an animal you have to justify it morally," said director Joyce D'Silva.

"And just so you can get an animal that can jump a few centimetres higher at Hickstead, can you really justify this?"

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

09 May 01 | Sci/Tech
Australian researchers clone pig
08 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
Endangered species cloned
27 Apr 99 | Sci/Tech
Scientists clone a goat
11 Jan 01 | Sci/Tech
GM monkey first
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories