The world's first cow to be cloned from the somatic cells of an adult cow has died at the age of 19 years and 10 months, according to the Ishikawa prefectural government.
Named Noto, the cow was cloned in 1998 and attracted attention worldwide. The average life expectancy of a cow is about 20 years, and Noto is believed to have died of old age.
The prefectural government said Noto was found unconscious in a barn on May 4, and was given nutritional supplements and other treatment. However, its breathing became laboured on Monday and it died at 3:58 p.m. on the day.
In a joint research project between Kindai University and the prefectural government, Noto was created by taking somatic cells from the fallopian tube of a cow, and transplanting a cultured somatic cell nucleus into an unfertilized egg.
Since a cow cloned from an adult cow inherits almost the same genetic characteristics as the original cow, there are expectations for mass-production of cows with high-quality meat or that can produce a lot of milk.
However, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has asked farmers to refrain from shipping such beef due to concerns over the safety of cloned beef. Cloned cows are not distributed in the domestic market.