23.09.2022
World’s first cloned Artic wolf born in China in process that implanted the embryo in a beagle

An Arctic wolf has been cloned for the first time by a Beijing-based gene firm that took a donor cell from a wild female Arctic wolf and combined it with an embryo that was grown inside a beagle, which shares genetic ancestry with ancient wolves to ensure the process was successful.

The pup, named Maya, was born in June but Singogen Biotechnology waited to announce her birth until she was 100 days old with the hopes the clone would be in good health, and it is.

Arctic wolves are not endangered like other breeds, but Singogen hopes to use this process to save other species that are at risk of extinction.

Although this is a scientific breakthrough, the cloning of animals is met with controversy as activists say the animals involved suffer in surgeries necessary to obtain donor cells and transfer embryos.

Another argument against the process that some see producing animals by cloning is whether this technique is violating some moral prohibition, such as people are ‘playing God’ by producing embryos without using fertilization.

The other side of the argument believes that cloning animals is a way to save species on the brink of extinction.

Regardless, Maya is deemed a milestone for the application of cloning technology.

She was created through the same technique behind Dolly the sheep, the first mammal, cloned in Scotland in 1996, which is called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Dolly, however, was euthanized at six years old when she was found to have a lung tumor.

As of right now, Maya is said to be in good health and is exhibiting behavior of a traditional Arctic wolf pup.

Sinogene Biotechnology general manager Mi Jidong told the Global Times: ‘We started the research cooperation with Harbin Polarland on cloning the Arctic wolf in 2020.

‘After two years of painstaking efforts, the Arctic wolf was cloned successfully. It is the first case of its kind in the world.’

The firm embarked on this quest by constructing 137 new embryos from enucleated (process of removing the nucleus from a cell) oocytes, which is a cell in an ovary, and somatic cells followed by the transfer of 85 embryos to the uteri of seven beagles – and one birth Maya.

The genetics company behind the project wants to research how to preserve animals more at risk than Maya’s counterparts.

However, there is still a long road ahead of them. ‘It is relatively easier to clone canines and cats,’ said Jidong.

‘We’ll continue to work in this field. In the next step, we may clone rare wild animals other than canines or cats … and it will be more difficult.’

But some in the scientific community have raised concern, specifically about the health of cloned animals and how cloning will affect bio-diversity.

Maya, for her part, is destined to spend the rest of her life in captivity because of her lack of socialization.

Cloning animals has been the Holy Grail for scientists since before Dolly, but now it is becoming a way to revive species that have since disappeared from the Earth.

In March, scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz announced they had sequenced entire genome of the dodo bird for the first time.

The flightless three-foot-tall dodo was wiped out in the 17th century, just 100 years after it was discovered on the island of Mauritius.

And in the same month it was announced that researchers at the University of Melbourne are working to bring the Tasmanian tiger back to life by re-creating the extinct species in the hope it can be re-introduced to the wild.

The lab will develop technologies that could achieve de-extinction of the thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger.

Scientists have already sequenced the thylacine genome, which has provided a blueprint on ‘how to essentially build a thylacine’, Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research Lab lead Andrew Pask said.

That embryo would then be transferred to a host surrogate uterus, such as a dunnart or a Tasmanian devil.

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25.09.2022
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  • 21 час, 4 минуты назад 24.09.2022Science
    Brexit Britain ‘better than France and Germany’ as space firm plot move to UK

    Since its departure from the European Union, Britain has rapidly expanded its space industry, having purchased the OneWeb satellite constellation to opening the new spaceport Cornwall later this year. While the UK was hit with some setbacks, like being removed from participating in the EU’s Galileo satellite system, space companies have told Express.co.uk the country has become an exciting place to invest in since Brexit.

    Speaking to Express.co.uk, Bryan Dean, the co-founder of Dragonfly Aerospace, hailed Brexit as an opportunity for the UK and added the company is looking to set up a headquarters in Britain.

    Dragonfly is a satellite imaging systems company based in South Africa that makes optical cameras for space, along with satellites that use the technology.

    His firm is looking to use satellites and satellite data to combat climate change, help industries such as agriculture flourish, and to use data to help avoid or overcome humanitarian disasters.

    He noted the company is currently transitioning its business towards imaging data, and said: “There are many advantages in locating that business internationally, and we’re definitely considering locating it in the UK.

    He added that as the company, they see “doing that from the UK as a much better option than doing it from South Africa in terms of where our customers are and in terms of where we believe we can work well with national governments as well.

    “In terms of business obviously, we need to be scaling the business at the moment so there’s access to capital.

    “Private capital in the UK is very useful to us and then in general most successful space companies see good interactions with their national government, and maintaining a good level of business with the national government is a useful foundation for building the commercial business on top of that.

    “So we certainly see the UK Government as a good customer, more so than the French and German governments.”

    With the upcoming opening of the new spaceport in Cornwall this year, Mr Dean noted that provided the economics of the launch are good, the spaceport could be a massive boon to Britain’s space industry.

    He added Brexit allowed the UK to look outside trading with the bloc, helping it work more closely with non EU countries like Australia and the US.

    He said: “When you look in a pre Brexit context, Europe was clearly Britain’s primary trading partner.”

    He admitted that while he wasn’t supportive of Brexit when it happened, “from an economic point of view, international point of view, it marks a transition towards international bilateral collaborations and things like that.

    “I think that probably will be positive, so that’s the one side on the economic level in terms of the trade Britain does.

    “From my point of view as a business owner and a UK citizen, it makes a lot of sense for us to build out a presence for Dragonfly in the UK and ultimately even possibly the dragonfly headquarters being in the UK.”

    While their current base is in South Africa, Mr Dean noted that his firm launched Dragonfly UK last year and are looking to expand their presence.

    In 2021, Britain’s space industry was already valued at £16.4billion, and the Government now has a goal of capturing about 10 percent of the global market, which is at $400billion (£331.3billion).

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  • 21 час, 4 минуты назад 24.09.2022Science
    ‘Jury’s out’: Farmer blows top at ‘flaky’ Truss as PM ‘not supporting’ amid energy crisis

    A North Yorskhire-based farmer has signalled his dismay over the new Prime Minster, who has made “flaky” promises to help the indsutry. Meanwhile, soaring energy costs are hamstringing crop proudction and are dealing a blow to farmers who have been forced to fork out extra cash to keep their machinery running. While Ms Truss has promised to help businesses with an energy support package, John Swiers, 64, has told Express.co.uk the Government is “not supporting” famers, just “hindering them less”.

    Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and his move to withold crucial supplies to Europe has seen energy prices skyrocket across the country due to the integrated nature of the gas market. This has not only seen household bills skyrocket, threatening fuel poverty for millions of families, it has also put a major strain on businesses’ operations.

    For farmers, this has had a particular damning impact, which coupled with drought over the summer has seen food production plummet by 20 percent in the UK. Higher energy prices have also seen the costs of running machinery on farms go up, hindering profits.

    Mr Swiers runs a farm based in North Yorkshire which has been in his family for generations, specialising in arable crops, including products such as wheat, barley and grape seed oil. While arable crops are not at risk from drought in the same wayx that fruits and vegatables are, Mr Swiers said that soaring energy prices have forced his input costs to go up, making it more difficult to make a profit.

    He told Express.co.uk: “Higher energy prices have increased our input costs. You have to tailor you inputs to maximise your profits. When your inputs go up in price, the equations change and you’ve got to do things slightly differently.”

    And making matters tougher for farmers like Mr Swiers, the price of chemical fertlisers have also gone up as a result of soaring energy costs, given that nitrogen fertiliser is made from gas.

    This has forced a lot of fertiliser plants to close down as it is becoming too expensive for farmers to be incentivised to buy.

    Amid this crisis which is making it difficult for business to make a profit, Prime Minsiter Liz Truss, who has repeatedly argued she wants to incentivise investment, grow the economy and provide more jobs, has pledged to help ease the impacts on firms with a support package.

    The bills support releif scheme will mean that bills for businesses will also be frozen, much like the bills freeze announced for households two weeks before. But while household bills will be frozen at £2,500 for two years, the cap for firms is currently only set to stay in place for two months.

    The Prime Minister has also claimed to be committed to protecting British farmers, arguing in the run up to her leadership campaign that she will make farmers more competitive “freeing them to grow more sustainable and high-quality British food in order to enhance our nation’s food security”.

    She said she wants to protect Britsh farmland from being covered in solar panels. Ms Truss said at a Tory hustings event last month: “Our fields should be filled [with] our fantastic produce…[They] shouldn’t be full of solar panels, and I will change the rules. I will change the rules to make sure…we’re using our high value agricultural land for farming.”

    But Mr Swiers does not appear to be convinved by Ms Truss’ commitments. He also argued that Government help currently given is not really “supporting” farmers, only “hindering them less”. He also urged the Government to avoid making rules that are a form of “political tampering”.

    He told Express.co.uk: “If you look at food crisis’ in history and what has acutally caused them, it has not been the environment or natural disaster, but it is mostly from Government intervention having a negative effect.”

    The Yorkshireman stressed that “populist ideas” and politics should be kept out well out of the way with regard to farming regulations. He said: “They should try and take the politics out of it and the populist ideas like organic and re-widling and go back to basics of letting farmers do their jobs wihtout interfering.”

    But following Ms Truss’ comments over her desire to prevent taking up more farm space, Ms Truss has argualy fused a political issue into the farming space once more.

    And despite ground-mounted solar panels currently cover just 0.1 percent of all land in the UK, Ms Truss has bizarrely said that she thinks “one of the most depressing sights when you’re driving through England is seeing fields that should be full of crops or livestock, full of solar panels.”

    It came after swathes of Conservative MPs recently described solar projects as hazards for rural communities and food supply, which could be an indication the the Prime Minister was attempting to appease Tory voters to win support during her leadership campaign.

    Ben Marlow, chief city commentator of the Telegraph wrote in the publication: “Britain’s culture wars have reached such epically absurd proportions that even the sun is now the enemy.”

    And Mr Sweirs is not convinced that Ms Truss really has farmers’ best interests at heart. He told Express.co.uk: “She’s flaky. She says on the one hand that she is going to deregultate and help farmers and then in the next breath makes those comments about solar panels.

    “That is just the typical example. She gives it the big talk but it does’nt look like will actually do much. I would say that the jury is out.”

    Express.co.uk has contacted Number 10 Downing Street and DEFRA for comment.

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  • 21 час, 4 минуты назад 24.09.2022Science
    POLL: ​​Would you install a heat pump to improve energy efficiency of your home?

    Britons are being encouraged to replace their gas boilers with energy-efficient heat pumps to help save on energy bills. Property designer and presenter of the Channel 4 series Grand Designs Kevin McCloud has called for Britons to install a heat pump to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes. But will you install one? Vote in our poll.

    He told The Telegraph last week: “[Heat pumps] are getting more efficient, but I’d say get one now.

    “They’re still a little expensive but the point is that it’s not complex technology and it’s not really going to change in terms of the offer.

    “All that is going to happen over the next 10 years is that they’ll come down in price because they will be produced in vast volumes.”

    Despite the long-term benefits heat pumps will bring to energy bills, they have a high upfront cost.

    Installation costs between £10,000 and £14,000 which is more than 10 times the average £1,500 gas boiler.

    The UK Government launched the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in March which provides £5,000 subsidy to support Britons in replacing their gas boilers with heat pumps.

    The aim is to make heat pumps more affordable and allow them to compete with traditional boilers.

    Heat pumps operate like a refrigeration system in reverse by transferring the cold air outside to heat your home.

    They run on electricity and can make a substantial contribution to reducing emissions if powered by renewable sources.

    However, environmentalists have been critical of the three-year scheme which is costing £450million.

    This means that of the 22 million gas-heated properties in the UK, only 90,000 would be able to benefit.

    Speaking about the scheme in October 2021, Mike Childs from Friends of the Earth said: “£450million pounds delivered via individual £5,000 grants means 90,000 heat pump installations over three years.

    “That just isn’t very much, and won’t meet the prime minister’s ambition of 600,000 a year by 2028.”

    Octopus Energy has pledged to support Britons by driving the prices of heat pumps down further.

    Octopus Energy CEO Greg Jackson told Express.co.uk earlier this month: “Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat your home…they are three or four times more energy efficient (than gas boilers).”

    He added: “Octopus is going to be driving this, and already to the right homes, we are installing heat pumps for a cost of about £2,500 after you have received your Government grant.

    “Our plan is to keep driving down the cost so as the market grows, they will ultimately be a price that is not dissimilar to a gas boiler.”

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  • 1 день, 3 часа назад 24.09.2022Science
    Heat pump horror: Britons facing ‘significant jump’ as gas alternative to cost £2,000 more

    Britons looking to instal heat pumps to save on bills could be in for a shock as industry experts warn soaring energy prices for businesses have made heat pumps more expensive. As the spiralling cost of wholesale gas is passed onto customers in their energy bills, many Britons have been looking towards installing heat pumps, which use electricity, which has seen a relatively less sharp increase in prices.

    While the energy bills for households have been softened slightly through measures like the price cap, and the various discounts rolled out by the Government, businesses and industries have until recently had no such protections from the volatile fossil fuel prices.

    As a result, soaring energy bills have pushed inflation to record levels, which industry experts warn is now also affecting the costs of installing energy-efficient heat pumps.

    Speaking to Express.co.uk, Jon Bonnar, the Director of Cotswold Energy group, which installs heat pumps for households, said: “We’ve seen some price rises.

    “We install 500 heat pumps a year, give or take, and what we’ve seen is that some prices have increased. What we’re seeing is that our cost base has increased by about probably 15-20 percent in the last 18 months.

    “What that’s meant for the customer is that their cost has gone up less than that, maybe 5-10 percent.

    “In the last three years, the average sale price to consumers has gone up from 12,000 to 14,000. Over three years, it’s been a significant jump.”

    He noted there have been a number of reasons why prices have been rising over the past few years, noting: “Covid made the supply chain more difficult and as a result, prices went up. Prices went up because of Covid, and then prices went up because of the war in Ukraine, inflation and other factors.”

    However, he noted that while the upfront costs of heat pumps were increasing, he found that for many who could afford the installation, the soaring of gas meant that they were finding the heat pump more affordable.

    He added: “But where the energy prices have gone up as well, it’s making heat pumps more affordable for people because what we’re seeing is that the gas prices are increasing and the alternative is to use heat pumps that run on electricity.

    “I think it’s more sense for customers now, whereas before it used to be a marginal difference in terms of running costs.

    “The running costs are becoming more affordable right now because what you can do is you can pair a heat pump with solar PV for example, while solar panels won’t pay for all the heat pumps, they will pay for some of it.”

    Heat pumps generally have a high upfront cost, which the Government has looked to mitigate through the Boiler Upgrade Schemee, that offers households up to £5,000 in subsidies to install a heat pump in place of a boiler.

    However, Mr Bonnar noted the £5,000 subsidy will bring the average heat pump price down to around £7,000-£8,000, which could still be unaffordable for many Britons.

    He continued: “The key thing about the Boiler Upgrade Scheme is that the 5000 is a useful contribution to a system installation cost, but it still relies on the homeowner having a spare £7-8000 to invest in a system, and just not everybody is having that kind of money lying around.

    “It’s a difficult conundrum for everyday people who are hit by the cost of living crisis, and rising energy bills. What the Government really needs to do is to increase the BUS from 5k-10,000. I think if they did that, it would be a much more meaningful effort and contribution to getting to net zero.

    “I think if you raise the BUS to 10,000, it would make the opportunity to instal heat pumps much more realistic for everyday people.”

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  • 1 день, 13 часов назад 24.09.2022Science
    British forest with a gold mine is on the market for £3million – with nowhere to live

    A 500-acre plot of land has been put on the market for an eye-watering £3.75million – despite not even having anywhere to live. The strip of land called Cae Gwian in Gwynedd, Wales, was put on the market by the current owner who is said to be a best-selling wine author. The site features an extremely rare copper and gold mine, but the estate has no house.

    The 19th-century copper gold mine found there has been out of use since 1900, but potential buyers can still spot the ruined mill building.

    The old mine office has also been semi-restored, with the current owners using it as a shelter and picnic spot.

    The land itself is also up to gold-standard, having been rated one of the best medium-sized forests in Wales and being awarded gold for the best managed woodland.

    Hugh Johnson, the current owner, has owned and managed the property since 1991, alongside writing his best-selling annual Pocket Wine Books.

    He said: “Cae Gwian is an unusual forest of exceptional beauty and charm, stretching over two hill ranges.

    “Stone walls reflect its history as pasture, and in the centre are the remains of a 19th century goldmine.

    “Cae Gwian has not only proved a good investment; it has been our family resort for a generation.”

    Located on the Afon Mawddach estuary in Snowdonia National Park, it has won Royal Welsh awards for its commercial management.

    A spokesman for agents Tustins said: “This is a unique opportunity to own a magnificent slice of rural Wales.

    “The special combination of a Snowdonia National Park location and all the ingredients of an outstanding commercial forest should be attractive to those whose desire to own a fast-growing forestry asset.”

    The property is on the market for £3.75million.

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  • 1 день, 13 часов назад 24.09.2022Science
    ‘Nightmarish’ shark with bulging eyes and a human-like smile is caught off the coast of Australia

    A ‘sea monster’ was pulled from the depths off the coast of Australia by fisherman who was surprised when he dragged in a shark with beady eyes and a human-like smile.

    The shark appeared to have rough, charcoal-colored skin and a small mouth with tiny sharp teeth lining the top and bottom.

    The image of the dead creature was shared on Facebook, sparking several theories as to what kind of shark it is – some suggest it was a cookiecutter or goblin shark.

    Dean Grubbs, associate director of research at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory told Newsweek, that it looks like a gulper shark.

    The shark was caught by fisherman Trapnman Bermagui on September 12.

    He reeled the nightmarish fish to his boat from more than 2,000 feet below the surface off the coast of New South Wales, Live Science reports.

    Trapnman Bermagui shared a picture of the lifeless creature on Facebook, which has collected more than 1,000 likes and sparked several theories about what kind of shark it was.

    Several users posted that it was a cookiecutter shark, due to the small mouth and tiny, sharp teeth.

    Others were amazed by the look of the sea monster, some saying it gave them ‘the major creeps.’

    And a few people suggested it was a prehistoric creature.

    But Fisher told Newsweek it is ‘totally not a cookiecutter,’ but is a rough skin shark that is also known as gulper shark.

    This species is found in the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Pacific.

    According to the Shark Research Institute, this shark has smooth skin, but the one recently caught had skin that looked like sandpaper.

    This could be due to the shark being dead.

    This species is also identifiable by its short first dorsal fin and the second positioned higher than other sharks.

    Males can grow up to 2.6 feet long, while females can measure up to three feet long.

    And the gulper shark is critically endangered regionally around Australia.

    The sharks are a hot commodity by fisheries that use their oil and meat.

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Science World's first cloned Artic wolf born in China in process that implanted the embryo in a beagle