Recently, scientists in Kashmir, India, announced they had successfully cloned a rare Himalayan cashmere goat. Named Noori (Arabic for “light”), the female kid is more than just a scientific breakthrough—she’s also a beacon of hope for local weavers.
For centuries, Kashmiri weavers were world renowned for their beautifully woven pashmina shawls, so much so that the soft wool became known as cashmere. Today, the cashmere industry is still vitally important to the region, bringing in $80 million in revenue each year.
Unfortunately, over the years, the number of cashmere-producing goats in the region has diminished, so much so that weavers have had to import cashmere from China. Local scientists and weavers alike hope that little Noori will be the first of many clones that will boost the overall goat population.
It took two years to produce Noori using a simplified cloning method described as using only “a microscope and a steady hand.” Now scientists think they can clone another goat in less time, and they hope to teach others around the region the method so they, too, can start producing their own goats.