Press Release

September 20 , 2000
Researchers from the Université de Montréal Faculty of Veterinary Medecine and l'Alliance Boviteq succeeded in cloning Starbuck


The Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l’Université de Montréal is proud to announce the birth of a cloned calf derived from the famous bull Hanoverhill Starbuck, which belonged to the Centre d’insémination artificielle du Québec (CIAQ). The cells utilised were taken before the death of Starbuck, two years ago. This is the first time that an adult bull was cloned in this manner. The cloning procedure was performed by the research team of Dr Lawrence C. Smith, Associate Professor and Researcher at the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l’Université de Montréal, and the embryo transfers by the team of L’Alliance Boviteq lead by Dr Daniel Bousquet of L’Alliance Boviteq inc. The calf was born at the Veterinary teaching hospital (VTH) of the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire. It weighed 54,2 kg at birth (120 pounds). The research that led to the birth of Starbuck II is, therefore, fruit of a close collaboration between the teams of the Centre de recherche en reproduction animale (CRRA) of the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l’Université de Montréal, of the Centre d’insémination artificielle du Québec (CIAQ) and of L’Alliance Boviteq.

The clinical crew present during birth of Starbuck II noticed that the young calf was in good health from its very first movements. Dr André Desrochers said: “After its birth by cesarean section, Starbuck II started breathing immediately on his own. No medical intervention was necessary apart from the usual care given to every newborn. Approximately 10 minutes after birth, Starbuck II vigorously tried to stand-up, which indicates an excellent health status”. As a result of discussions with the clinical support team of the Veterinary teaching hospital of the Faculté and CIAQ, the announcement of the birth of Starbuck II was postponed until today to ensure the optimum health care and environmental conditions for the cloned calf.

Dr Lawrence C. Smith and Dr Daniel Bousquet directed the scientific investigations that led to the birth of Starbuck II. Dr Smith who cloned Starbuck, is a researcher at the Centre de recherche en reproduction animale (CRRA) and Associate Professor of the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l’Université de Montréal at Saint-Hyacinthe. Dr Smith introduced the technology of nuclear transfer at the Roslin Institute, during his Ph.D. with Dr Wilmut, who later cloned Dolly. Dr Bousquet is the Research and Development Coordinator and Assistant General Manager of L’Alliance Boviteq inc. also at Saint-Hyacinthe.

“Starbuck II is derived from frozen fibroblast cells, recovered one month before the death of Starbuck. This is the first Canadian adult clone of its kind. Moreover, “Starbuck II is the first cloned calf worldwide to be derived from non serum-starved fibroblasts originating from an adult animal” said Dr Smith. Cloned embryos were produced by the method of oocyte reconstruction in which somatic nuclei are introduced by fusion into previously enucleated ovocytes.

In this case, 68 reconstructed oocytes were needed to obtain a viable cloned calf. This represents fewer attempts than that required to produce Dolly, which was 277 similar attempts. The rate of fusion obtained was 80%, of which 28% developed into blastocyst-stage embryos after an 8-day culture period in vitro. The research group transferred the cloned embryos to surrogate mothers belonging to L'Alliance Boviteq inc, a company specialized in applied research.

It should also be noted that this was not the only technical achievement. In fact, to reduce the chances of obtaining gestational and neonatal abnormalities, a novel medium containing no serum was used for the in vitro culture of the embryos to the blastocyst stage. The good health of Starbuck II indicates that the culture system had a beneficial effect.

Dr Raymond S. Roy, Dean of the Faculté reacted : “This scientific accomplishment highlights the contribution of the researchers in Saint-Hyacinthe to economic development. All dairy producers in the world acknowledge the importance of the cloning of Starbuck”.

Since its creation in 1972, the role of the Centre de recherche en reproduction animale (CRRA) of the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l’Université de Montréal, has been to carry out research in the area of reproduction of domestic animals. It is now known as one of the largest research centers of its kind in Canada. The establishment and maintenance of pregnancy in domestic animals is the main topic of research at the CRRA. There are two principal areas of research, embryo survival and ovarian function, which are studied at the level of the whole animals and at the cellular and molecular levels. In this regard, the CRRA conducts important studies on in vitro fertilization and Dr Smith is at the forefront of research on animal cloning in cattle. Dr Bruce D. Murphy is the director of the CRRA.

In recent years, L’Alliance Boviteq inc. has been very active in the research and development as well as in the application of novel techniques in animal reproduction. Their competence in this field is confirmed by their success in applying the techniques of embryo sexing, embryo freezing and the production of embryos in vitro. Their success in cloning is another indication of the resources and potential they have to offer to animal breeding programs for the Canadian dairy industry.

A video presentation explaining the steps in the cloning procedure, the first steps after the birth of Starbuck II, a photo and a complete press documentation are available at the address :


Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Marie Josée Godbout, Public relations Officer
Tel. : 514-345-8521 ext. 8140 (Montreal Island),
450-773-8521 ext. 8140 (Saint-Hyacinthe)
Cellular : 450-223-9471

CIAQ and L’Alliance Boviteq inc.
Agathe Drolet, Assistant Manager (Marketing and Services, CIAQ)
Tel.: 450-774-1141


Members of the team of the Centre de recherche en reproduction animale (CRRA)
of the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l’Université de Montréal

Dr Lawrence C. Smith, dvm, PhD
Dr Vilceu Bordignon, dvm, PhD
Dr Henrique Pontes, dvm, Masters Degree Student
Carmen Léveillée, Technician
Jacinthe Thérien, Research Assistant
Christian Vignault, BSc. Student
Dr Edmir Nicola, dvm, Ph.D. Student
Senan Baqir, Ph.D. Student
Dr Marcia Couto, dvm, Masters Degree Student

Members of the CHUV medical team
Dr André Desrochers, dvm
Dre Marie Babkine, dvm
Dr Yvon Couture, dvm
Dr Gilles Fecteau, dvm
Dr Pascal Dubreuil, dvm, PhD
Dre Mélanie Boileau, dvm
Dre Karine Gagné, dvm
Dre Geneviève Bussières, dvm
Marie Josée Landry
Kathleen Laberge

Members of the research team of L’Alliance Boviteq inc.
Dr Daniel Bousquet, dvm, PhD
Dr Patrick Blondin, B.Sc., PhD
Chantal Brisson, B.Sc, M.Sc.
Guylaine Carbonneau, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Francine Gauthier,Technician
Nathalie Morin, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Dr Herménégilde Twagiramungu, dvm, PhD

Members of the technological services team at L’Alliance Boviteq inc.
Dr Jean Durocher, dvm, M.Sc.
Marcel Morin, Technician
Roger Bousquet and the barn team


Research in the releases from 1998, 1999 et 2000

Contact us

Last update : September 20, 2000