Seeing double: cloned pigs go on display at China safari park

Cloned animal and the offspring of another clone take up home at a park in Shenzhen

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 12:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 12:20pm

Two “cloned” pigs have made their debut at a safari park in southern China, drawing widespread interest from tourists and social media users alike.

The pair of identical looking black-and-white pigs were released into a paddock at the Shenzhen Safari Park for the public to view on Monday, according to a report by the Shenzhen Television Station.

The two pigs were part of the genetic engineering programme at the Beijing Genomics Institute based in Shenzhen.

Dou Hongwei, a director at the institute, said that one pig was cloned. The other is the offspring of a cloned pig.

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Dou said the two animals were genetically modified to make them more suitable as pets.

“We have removed the GHR gene in these pigs,” Dou said. “With that removed, their growth hormones would be rendered ineffectual. So these pigs will never grow in size. The adult weight for these pigs is only about 15 kg.”

The television station said the appearance of the animals comes after a partnership was formed between the park and the China National GeneBank.

Many social media users marvelled at how similar the two pigs resembled each other and behaved.