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Pashmina goat cloned by Indian scientists

Indian scientists said Thursday they have cloned a rare Himalayan goat in Indian-controlled Kashmir, in order to eventually increase cashmere production.

goat and baby goatEnlarge
Scientists in Kashmir cloned a rare Himalayan goat in an effort to increase cashmere production. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian scientists in Kashmir have cloned a rare pashmina goat known for its soft belly fur, reported the Hindustan Times.

The goat took two years of research to clone, according to the Hindu, and was partially funded by a World Bank program.

Using an new technique developed in India, the researchers from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology hope to create more clones in order to help production of the rare cashmere.

“The clone will go a long way to boost research in Kashmir. We have to see how much pashmina yield is possible from the clone at lower altitude like Kashmir valley,” said Kashmir animal husbandry director Farooq Ahmad Shah to the Hindustan Times.

The Associated Press reported that the numbers of these goats are dwindling and recently the region has had to import wool from China to keep up with demand.

Cashmere wool, particularly made into shawls, is a major source of income for Kashmir, generating about $80 million a year for the Indian-controlled portion of the disputed mountain area, reported the Associated Press.

"Noori," or "light" in Arabic, was born on March 9 and is a special breed of Cashmere goat that lives on the Tibetan plateau in cold, mountainous areas.

The harsh climate helps them develop their soft undercoat that produces the fine material that can cost hundreds of dollars for a sweater or shawl.

It is hoped that this research will help other labs across the region clone their own goats and even revive endangered species.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/science/120316/pashmina-goat-cloned-indian-scientists