Why China Is Cloning Super Cows

Scientists from the Northwest University of Agricultural and Forestry Science and Technology have taken cells from a cow's ear and created clones in order to protect milk production from supply chain disruptions.

By Trista Sobeck | Published

Super cows

Holy cow! Literally. Cows of the future have arrived. Scientists in China have recently cloned three super cows and they are here to provide milk for everyone. This force was really a global effort as the cows were born in China, cloned from a type of cow from the Netherlands, and bred by scientists from the Northwest University of Agricultural and Forestry Science and Technology. 

Super cows will produce 18 tons of milk a year, according to CNN. That comes out to about 100 tons of milk over the cows’ lifetime. This amount is 1.7 times the amount of milk a typical cow in the United States can produce. 

These super cows were created by cloning 120 embryos from the ear cells of highly productive cows. The embryos were then carried by surrogate cows. Wait! What? Ear cells? Yes, ears. This was chosen probably because taking a sample from a cow’s ear would not hurt it. There are still questions, we get it. But go with us on this one. 

China is known for doing some fairly high-tech and innovative things. But, 70% of China’s cows are imported. So, it was time for the country to come up with its own type of super cows that could create a lot of milk for the vast country. Chinese scientists are calling the birth of these cows a breakthrough. Making a super cow from an ear? Yeah, that’s a breakthrough alright. 

The Chinese government plans to take two to three years to create a herd of 1,000 super cows. China wants to ease its reliance on overseas cows. They have learned that a supply chain is a fragile thing, so they are developing super cows. No biggie, right? Wrong.

However, many countries have bred cloned cows and other animals with desirable traits in order to create “better” animals like super cows. Last year, a Chinese company cloned an Arctic wolf. These types of efforts are great to help us sustain a population of animals that may be on the brink of going extinct.   

In addition, in 2017, Chinese scientists bred special types of cloned super cows that were able to naturally fight off bovine tuberculosis which was threatening cows in China and other countries for some time

Only five out of 10,000 (normal) cows have the ability to produce 100 tons of milk over their lifetimes making them a very valuable resource for breeding. Unfortunately, some of these super cows are not discovered until the end of their lives. This is when they cannot breed. 

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, United States wild, feral cows are roaming the National Forest destroying the area. Feral cows have been there since the 1970s and there is an attempt to thin the herd. But, we’re not talking about such dark things here. We’re talking about super cows. Cows that will live forever! No, no they won’t. But their legacies will. 

Super cows have the opportunity to save a lot of people from starvation and may be one of the keys to solving world hunger. Super cows are here to save the day!