It started with a piece of meat, and ended with two calves.
"These genetics were gone. they were fixin to be on somebody's dinner plate," Jason Abraham, one of the cloning specialists said.Abraham and Dr. Gregg Veneklasen have been cloning in the Panhandle for years.
Now, they re-created two prime, yield grade one animals that might offer the key to a new, more productive future in the beef industry.
"So these animals have high quality, high yield traits which are antagonist of each other and don't occur very often," Ty Lawrence, a WT professor involved in the project said, "We are trying to learn what genes made that happen."
This project has been two years in the making. It's a partnership between West Texas A&M and the private industry.
The cloned cows will be used for research, with an end goal of understanding genetics and how to breed a herd full of efficient, high quality cattle.
And not only do the cloned cows have the potential to make history in the feed yards, but they're also bringing a little more life into ag classrooms at WT.
"Student involvement has been from the get go helping Dr. Lawrence collect the samples, being involved from the original insertion of the embryos into the cows, and now raising the bull and the heifer that we've have cloned and have on the ground," Dean Hawkins, Head of the Animal Science Department said.
And the whole thing is putting WT on the map.
"This moves the needle. This puts us in the scientific conversation with all the major universities in the country," Don Topliff, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering said.
But one part of this project, the word cloning, has caused controversy in the panhandle
According to those behind the project, it's not something to be afraid of.
"We've misrepresented cloning as a technology and it's not. Cloning is a term. It's a term to describe individual like animals. A process to make them. And we have natural cloning, it's called identical twins," Gregg Veneklasen, one of the cloning specialists said.
These two cows, whose genes represent just point twopercent of the cattle population, could be the new faces of the beef industry.
But for now, those behind the project say these two calves are just like any others.