Cloned polo horses start out in Texas Panhandle - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Cloned polo horses start out in Texas Panhandle

Cloned horses originate in the Panhandle; Source: KFDA Cloned horses originate in the Panhandle; Source: KFDA
Cloned cows helping out West Texas A&M; Source: KFDA Cloned cows helping out West Texas A&M; Source: KFDA
Dog cloning is next project; Source: KFDA Dog cloning is next project; Source: KFDA
Cloned horses originate in the Panhandle; Source: KFDA Cloned horses originate in the Panhandle; Source: KFDA
CANADIAN, TX (KFDA) -

At the Mendota Ranch, Jason Abraham and Dr. Gregg Veneklassen have been helping out the Panhandle with their cloned animals for more than a decade.

One thing most people don't know is cloning is not just taking one animal and creating another. It's a very systematic process that creates different and unique personalities for all the animals.

60 Minutes recently captured the story of how horses cloned in the Panhandle are now championship polo horses in South America. 

Before the animals were racing around South America, they were learning to walk here in the Panhandle.

The horses that were sent to Argentina were born at the Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital.

Dr. Gregg Veneklassen said all the horses he has at the facility were slated to be killed. He saved them and used them to make clones.

Abraham says the cloning process helps rescue animals that would otherwise be killed. 

"Some people don't understand how important animals are to people like me. We love them. We talk to them more than we do people," said Abraham.

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Cloned animals are also helping out students in the Panhandle.

The cattle at Mendota Ranch are not clones. However, West Texas A&M University is utilizing clones to improve their education they provide to students.

"We helped them clone this animal. It was a steer, we brought him back as a bull. We also cloned some heifers," said Abraham. "Since this project has been going, we proved that that is an inheritable trait, 'Yield-Grade 1 Prime'. It really [has] put West Texas on the map for the [agriculture] department."

Abraham told me they have cloned multiple types of animals

"We've done it with well over 300 horses now that we've cloned," said Abraham. "And I do 15 to 20 deer every year, same way. Pigs, we've done a ton of pigs. You know it's a real good tool for reproduction."

Most of Abraham and Dr. Veneklassen's work has been focused on horses.

It is a six to seven stage process similar to biological births.

"When we're cloning, essentially all we do is we create the embryo," said Abraham. "We kind of mimic what happens naturally."

Once the embryo is implanted, both men say it becomes a biological process.

"Once it's created then it starts dividing, dividing, dividing. Then at day five or six we transfer it into a recipient mare or surrogate mom," said Abraham.

Cloning only copies the animal's genetic sequence. The animal's abilities and personality is a product of it's environment.

"Everybody says well, it's an identical twin separated by time," said Abraham.

The next project Abraham says they are undertaking, getting their paws on a more domesticated animal. They hope to clone Abraham's beloved pet dog Lola.

"We're cloning her just 'cause we love the little dog," said Abraham. "You can't clone the personality. You can clone the same animal, but it's gonna be different."

Jason said he's going to continue this process for many years just because it's a labor of love, and he enjoys doing it and seeing the outcome.

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