Calvaro 5 clone born in France

September 24, 2008

The Calvaro 5 colt clone.

Cloning company Cryozootech has announced the birth of a colt foal who is the clone of Calvaro 5, Swiss rider Villi Melliger's top ranked jumper and a silver Olympic medalist who died in 2003.

Cloning Calvaro 5 had been considered in 2002 but Melliger declined the opportunity, as the process was still in its infancy. But as Calvaro 5's health began to decline, talks again began between Melliger and Cryozootech. This resulted in Cryozootech buying a skin biopsy and the right to clone from Melliger.

Over the past four years Cryozootech has sold shares in the future stallion - now named Calvaro-Cryozootech-Stallion - for co-ownership. Already investors have bought 25% of the shares and the company owns the remaining 75%.

The cloning process took five years, said Cryozootech founder Eric Palmer. In the first year, embryos were obtained but a pregnancy was not achieved. In 2005, a first pregnancy was initiated. A foal was born prematurely in 2006, but did not survive. New cloning attempts were performed in 2007 and resulted in the present healthy foal born at the Cryozootech farm in France at the beginning of August.

Calvaro 5
"This long process illustrates the steps towards a production which is still far from a routine technique," Palmer said.

Calvaro 5 was ranked World number one in 1999, 2nd in 1996 and 1998, and was twice a Silver Olympic medalist (Sydney and Atlanta), and was second in the 1996 World Cup. Calvaro left the jumping arena in 2002 and was retired to Melliger's stud-farm of Neuendorf, Switzerland. Calvaro's health rapidly declined and he died in September 2003.