A research company, Investigaciones Agropecuarias (Embrapa), said on Monday it had succeeded in producing a calf from the cells of a dead cow using cloning technology.

"Cloning can be used when an animal of high genetic value has died from an accident," said Rodolfo Rumpf, who led the research.

He said the calf, born 4 September, was in perfect health. The technique could also be used to replace dead members of endangered species, he said.

Cattle have been cloned before – initially by scientists in New Zealand – but Lenda is the first to be cloned using a dead cow’s cells.

Accident

The project came about as the result of an accidental death.
An eight-year-old cow called T Melo Lenda, who had earned renown as a milk producer, was killed accidentally on 5 November.

Although her owners extracted her ovaries, the eggs would not germinate. So Rumpf and his team used cells gathered from the outer ovaries to clone the cow, called Lenda.

Lenda joins a growing list of animal species that scientists have cloned from adult cells, comprising horses sheep, mice, rabbits, goats, cats and pigs.

In May, scientists in Italy created the world's first cloned horse - the last of the major livestock animals to be successfully cloned.