Cloning Alpacas Is Latest Goal for Oldest College in the Americas

Latin American Herald Tribune   
By: Latin American Herald Tribune
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimeida Commons
Original content from Latin American Herald Tribune.     

LIMA – After opening the world’s first alpaca cloning laboratory, Lima’s San Marcos University – the oldest college in the Americas – is making strides in alpaca embryo manipulation.

Mimicking the process that results in the birth of human identical twins – which develop from only one zygote – the project aims to manipulate a mature alpaca embryo to cause it to split in two.

“We are trying to emulate the natural process that produces human twins under normal conditions,” biologist, professor and science team leader Martha Valdivia told EFE.

Justified by the importance alpacas have in Peru’s economy – their fine wool being one of the country’s flagship products – the project has been 20 years in the making and is making strides in alpaca cloning.

Highly specialized cloning research has been possible here since 2017, when the project was awarded the federal funds needed to develop a complex reproductive biotechnology unit at the San Marcos Biological Sciences department, which opened this past April.

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Tourists flock to Peru's newly discovered Rainbow Mountain for perfect Instagram selfies

1 News Now
By: Frances Jenner
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture

Photo Caption: In this April 5, 2018 photo, community leader Gabino Human poses for a photo backdropped by Rainbow Mountain, in Pitumarca, Peru.
Original content from 1 News Now.    

Tourists gasp for breath as they climb for two hours to a peak in the Peruvian Andes that stands 5000 metres above sea level. They're dead tired, but stunned by the magical beauty unfurled before them.

Stripes of turquoise, lavender and gold blanket what has become known as "Rainbow Mountain," a ridge of multicoloured sediments laid down millions of years ago and pushed up as tectonic plates clashed.

It's only within the last five years that the natural wonder has been discovered by the outside world, earning it must-see status on Peru's burgeoning backpacker tourist circuit.

"You see it in the pictures and you think it's Photoshopped — but it's real," said Lukas Lynen, an 18-year-old tourist from Mexico.

The popularity of Rainbow Mountain, which attracts up to 1000 tourists each day, has provided a much-needed economic jolt to this remote region populated by struggling alpaca herders.

Environmentalists, however, fear the tourists could destroy the treasured landscape, which is already coveted by international mining companies.

"From the ecological point of view they are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs," said Dina Farfan, a Peruvian biologist who has studied threatened wildlife in the area just a few hours from the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at 1 News Now.

Peru will be the first country in the world to clone Alpacas

Peru Reports
By: Frances Jenner
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture
Original content from Peru Reports.    

Peru is taking a patriotic leap into the unknown by attempting to become the first country in the world to clone alpacas.

The team, headed by Martha Valdivia Cuya, will work with the University Mayor de San Marcos to carry out their pioneering work.

“In alpacas this is new,” Valdivia told Agencia Andina. “Nobody has divided the alpaca embryo before. No group in the world has done it. With this project, we will be able to divide the embryo into two equal parts to then transfer them.”

Valdivia and members of her team have been waiting 20 years to make this dream into a reality, according to El Comercio, and they finally gained funding through winning government initiated competition Innóvate Perú (Innovate Peru).

The team of experts consists of 25 people, among them biologists, zoologists, vets, teachers and postgraduate students. The funding allowed the inauguration of a new reproduction laboratory at the UNMSM.

Read the rest of this story at Peru Reports.

Largest child sacrifice in history discovered in Peru

By: Amir Vera and Natalie Gallón
Photo: Courtesy of CNN

Photo Caption: This April 22, 2011, photo provided by National Geographic shows more than a dozen bodies preserved in dry sand for more than 500 years, at the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas site near Trujillo, Peru.

Original content from CNN.  

(CNN) - Scientists have unearthed a dark secret in Peru.

The skeletal remains of more than 140 children and 200 baby llamas were found on the country's northern coast. It may be evidence of the largest child sacrifice in history, according to an exclusive report by National Geographic, released Thursday on its website. The remains of a man and two women were also found.

The sacrifices are believed to have taken place 550 years ago in the pre-Columbian Chimú Empire, in a sacrificial site formerly known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, close to a UNESCO World Heritage site of Chan Chan, in the modern town of Trujillo.

The children ranged in age from 5 to 14, according to the report. The baby llamas were less than 18 months old.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at CNN.