Clones: Many people when they hear the word think of Star Wars and the clones in the prequels. The clones in polo are a little different. As the clones in polo are fighting it is not a intergalactic war that is being fought to keep order in the republic, but instead these horses are just competing in the game of polo, however they still are clones.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Today, clones are being produced all around for many different reasons. In Argentina, clones are being produced for a polo team made up of only clones. The team is run by one of the best polo players, Adolfo Cambiaso, who has cloned one his best horses ever to continue his success. In his championship match he rode six different horses that were all clones named Cuartetera 01 through 06. Cuartetera being the name of the horse that he originally rode and that was cloned. The person behind the cloning is Katrin Hinrichs who is a veterinarian at Texas A&M, who cloned the first for Cambiaso. The company that now does the majority of cloning in the game of cloning is Crestview Genetics who have cloned over 200 horses since 2009. This process is not cheap however, as it is costing rider to spend around $120,000 per horse.
The reason this process is so expensive is the amount of work goes into making a clone. The process starts with a somatic cell taken from the animal/organism that is to be cloned. There are two ways that cloning an animal can be done. One way is to take the DNA out of the somatic cell and insert it into a donor egg cell that will later develop into a clone. In this case however it is done in a different way. At Crestview, they take in ovaries from recently killed horse. They scrape the ovaries for the remaining eggs. After this is done they place the eggs in an incubator for 24 hours so it can become mature enough to change and can be used in cloning. After the 24 hour period, the egg is cleaned with a small hollow needle. The nucleus that contained the original DNA for the egg cells is removed. Then the somatic cell is inserted into the outer membrane of the egg. The egg and somatic cell then receive and electrical shock that fuses the two cells together becoming one, with the genetic information coming from the somatic cell. The now fused cell is then placed in a test tube surrounded by a solution that are needed for the development of the cell. The test tube is then placed in the incubator for seven days. Once ready what is produced is then placed into the womb of an adult female. It will develop as normal within the womb and a clone will be produced.
Clones within the game of polo are seen by some as unfair and not good for the game as copies of the best performing horses are being produced. The cost of breeding two horses is also extremely expensive and because the rules of polo do not restrict the type of horse being used, clones are allowed in the game but still seen was wrong by many in the polo community. Similarly cloning is seen as inhumane and not right by people around the world as they feel humans should not change or alter reproduction for our personal gain.