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Jun 08, 2012 at 09:28am IST

World's first cloned pashmina goat a boost for Kashmir

Ganderbal: The world's first cloned Pashmina goat Noori has gotten a new lease of life for the Kashmiri farmers. Scientists are hopeful that she will be able to reproduce soon, giving new hope to the study aimed at boosting pashmina trade.

In less than three months Noori's weight has tripled and scientists hope that in about a year's time, it would be able to reproduce and produce the pashmina fibre.

The scientists in Kashmir want to replicate the Noori success story throughout the state. Now they want to rear the goat and subsequently boost pashmina trade in the colder reaches of Sonmarg, Sheshnag and Khilanmarg.

Dr Riyaz Shah, lead scientist, Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology (SKUAST), said, "Shatoosh got banned and people were unemployed. They can shift to pashmina provided the pashmina production is more. Our aim is to enhance the production. It will take some time to have its effect. At some time it will have its positive effect on production."

The Noori experiment has raised hopes among the farmers who were earlier dealing with the banned Shatoosh to look for alternatives to rear the pashmina goats like these for shawl weaving.

Pashmina weaver Mohammad Rafiq Dar said, "If the goat is introduced here, we will have raw material easily available."

Apart from Noori, Dr Riyaz Shah's team is also looking at cloning some other endangered animals with some funding from the World Bank and the Omar Abdullah government.

"Cloning hangul and chiru is a tough job, tougher than this. For that we need to standardise the technique, produce clone embryos. We need recipients, and they are tough to come by. It needs lots of effort and collaboration from wildlife," Dr Shah said.

For the bunch of enthusiastic scientists, the success of Noori is a step in the right direction. And now they are ready to broaden their vistas.

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