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A Spanish breeder of fighting bulls will pay €30,000-35,000 to clone his prize stud "Alcalde", "rather than risk buying a traditionally bred replacement", Reuters reports.

Victoriano del Rio, from Guadalix de la Sierra, near Madrid, hopes that the perfect genetic copy will in the future sire offspring to match those of the original Alcalde. Two of his sons so impressed bullfighter Julián López Escobar, aka "El Juli", that he mounted their heads at home - a rare, if dubious, honour for a bull.

The cloning will be done by Texas-based genetics outfit ViaGen Inc. using stem cells extracted from Alcalde's earlobe, and the embryo sent back to Spain for transfer to a recipient female.

Del Rio accepts that a clone of Alcalde may not produce offspring of superior fighting quality, and told Reuters: "There's no guarantee, as this is the first time it's been done. When you want to advance in science, you have to take a bet." ®

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