Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had an unusual visitor at his office this morning-- Noori, the world's first cloned Pashmina goat created in Jammu and Kashmir in a rare scientific feat.

Omar patted the goat and held it on his lap as he promised government support to similar projects like cloning endangered species including Hangul.

Noori was brought to the Chief Minister's office by the team of scientists, which had successfully cloned the rare Himalayan goat last year at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology here.

Omar highlighted the importance of biological interventions for improving livestock productivity and agriculture produce to benefit the society.

Vice Chancellor of SKUAST Tej Pratap told the Chief Minister that the team associated with cloning of Pashmina goat is now working to produce herd of cloned sheep-goats.

"This would lead in the production in greater number and good quality of Pashmina goats," he said. Pashmina's soft wool is used for producing expensive shawls and scarves.

He said the University is looking forward to rearing of Pashmina goats at Chang-Thang in Ladakh.

"Modern technology will be used for making fodder available to the Pashmina goats during the winter season," the Vice Chancellor said.

Lauding the team of SKUAST scientists for the historic breakthrough, Omar said the government was more than willing to provide all help to the Agriculture University to utilize the cloning technology for the benefit of the society at large.

The Chief Minister said the SKUAST scientists should also focus on cloning of rare animals like Hangul, Cheeru and other endangered species of the state.
 
"Government wants to own and support projects of SKUAST aimed at application of technology to upgrade and increase the quality production of animals", he added.

The Chief Minister also felicitated the scientists involved in the cloning project – principal investigator Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, Dr A R Fazili, Dr Hilal Ahmad Khan, Dr Masood Hussain, Dr Nazir A Ganai, Dr Syed Hilal and Mr Firdous Khan after the meeting.

(Agencies)

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