In 2008 a deadly earthquake hit the Sichuan province of China killing tens of thousands and living millions homeless – it was the most devastating natural disaster in China’s recent history. From the among the rubles of the quake, however, emerged a survivor-pig which made him an instant national hero at the time. Now, Chinese scientists have cloned the super-pig as a means of better understanding what genetic treats made him so tough.
Six piglets have been produced with DNA identical to Zhu Jiangqiang, or “Strong-Willed Pig” as he’s also called in the national press, despite of the fact that the pig was castrated, which is why the cloning process began in the first place, and is five years old (60 in pig years). Zhu Jiangqiang did not only survive a magnitude 8 earthquake in May 2008, but also managed to stay alive trapped beneath the rubles for 36 days only by drinking rainwater and chewing charcoal.
“The wonderful pig surprised us again,” said Du Yutao, the head of the cloning project, who was very pleased of the results of the cloning of the six piglets, who very much resemble their father, each bearing the same birth mark on their foreheads. The genetic offsprings’ faith is still not certain, but from what has been disclosed so far it seems the piglets will be sent in pairs to a museum and a genetic institute.