Spanish breeder to clone fighting bull

MADRID Sat Mar 1, 2008 11:13am EST

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MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish breeder of fighting bulls has decided to clone his favorite stud rather than risk buying a traditionally bred replacement.

Victoriano del Rio wants to repeat the success he has enjoyed with Alcalde, who sired two bulls that so impressed famous bullfighter El Juli in the ring that he keeps their heads mounted at home.

Cloning will cost 30,000-35,000 euros and will guarantee a perfect genetic copy, although del Rio accepts that does not mean it will produce offspring of Alcalde's fighting quality.

"There's no guarantee, as this is the first time it's been done. When you want to advance in science, you have to take a bet," del Rio said by telephone from his ranch in Guadalix de la Sierra, near Madrid.

To perform the cloning, stem cells will be extracted from Alcalde's ear lobe and sent to a laboratory run by Texas-based genetics firm ViaGen Inc., who will then return the embryo.

(Reporting by Martin Roberts; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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