SKUAST-K constitutes panel to probe ‘goat clone facts’

IMRAN MUZAFFAR

Srinagar, Jan 8: In the wake of a controversy surrounding authenticity of world’s first Pashmina goat clone, Noorie, the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) here has constituted an inquiry committee to “ascertain whether the replica is a hoax or a genuine Cashmere goat clone.”
 The committee, mandated to prepare an ‘independent report’, was constituted in wake of newspaper reports questioning the validity of the clone, informed sources said. “The committee is mandated to ascertain whether the DNA tests of the goat clone were sent to an independent agency for its validation or not. It has also been asked to file status report on the present status of cloning at the institution,” the sources said.
 In October last year, an RTI query had revealed that DNA profiling of the goat clone, Noorie, was not conducted by the varsity to prove its validity. “No independent committee has been constituted or DNA samples taken to prove the validity of the Noorie goat clone,” the varsity reply had said. “We are in a process of collection of samples for isolation of DNA from different animals (surrogate, clone, unrelated goat etc.) as well as the cell line involved with the cloned goat. The DNA samples would be taken in a week or two.”
 The RTI applicant had also questioned whether any independent committee was constituted to certify independently the validity of the clone.
 Funded by World Bank, Noori which means “light” in Arabic was produced on March 9 last year by a team of scientists headed by Dr Riaz Ahmad Shah, veterinarian, Animal Biotechnology Center, SKUAST-K. “The University has sent the samples to various laboratories in India and abroad. Constituting an independent committee is the internal matter of the varsity and optional,” Dr Riaz had told Greater Kashmir.
 The Committee, which according to sources was constituted after opposition from some of the top officials, has been given extension by another 45 days to prepare the report. “The Committee was formally constituted in November last year but it is yet to prepare the report,” they said.
 The varsity move, according to sources, was an exercise of ‘damage control.’ “When the University was faced with a cry to constitute an independent committee to find out the validation of Noorie, it ceased to rope in some of its own officials for the job,” they said.
 Dr Tasleem Ganaie, Chairman of the probe Committee, said the team was working on the report. “We have been mandated to prepare a report on the clone’s validation,” he said. The official further denied speaking, saying “We have been directed not to divulge anything regarding the committee and its mandate.”
 Director Research, Dr Shafiq Wani, said the team was mandated to look into the genetic representation of the clone. “The team is in a process of collection of facts regarding the DNA sampling of the Noorie and its validation,” he said. The fact of the matter, he said, was that Noorie has already been authenticated as a clone. “The team has been given a 45-day extension and we are looking forward for its report,” Wani said.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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