China creates its first 'fully Chinese' cloned kitten


A cat in China successfully delivered the country’s first "fully Chinese" cloned kitten over the weekend.

Meet the newborn: The kitten, an orange male weighing 141 grams, was born in Qingdao, Shandong Province, on Sunday from a surrogate female cat. The pregnancy reportedly lasted for 69 days.

Zhao Minghui, an associate professor from Qingdao Agricultural University’s College of Life Sciences, praised the project as the kitten became China’s first cloned cat using home-grown equipment and reagents, making it "fully Chinese." China previously relied on the U.S. and other countries for such resources.

How it happened: The project, a collaborative effort between the university and Qingdao PanGene Technologies Co., began in 2020. As per local reports, Zhao’s research initially encountered problems during cloning attempts on pigs. The said issues were due to imported reagents and their recurring performance instability.

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The team eventually found a way to make the reagents domestically, with a partner in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, offering their facility.

Successful efforts: Zhao's team successfully cloned 20 pigs using domestic reagents and equipment between the end of October and early November. However, the scientist noted that cloning cat somatic cells was different as they “demanded more resources in terms of facilities, reagents and materials.”

Despite the initial hurdles, Zhao told the state-run Global Times on Monday that the kitten’s birth showed how China now has a complete industrial chain in animal cloning.

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Not the first: China's first-ever cloned cat is Garlic, a British shorthair cloned in 2019. The distraught owner dug up the animal’s body hours after it died for the procedure. Beijing-based Sinogene performed the cloning for 250,000 yuan ($35,190).


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