One of Argentina's top polo players has formed an alliance with a US genetics lab to create clones of his top polo horses, a move that threatens to revolutionize the competitive "sport of kings," reports the Guardian. "Throughout the sport everybody's talking about what's going to happen with cloning. There is a big internal debate," said the president of the veterinary commission of an Argentine breeders association.
Top polo horses are usually castrated, so they cannot breed. The clone of a top mare fetched $800,000 at an auction in Argentina last year. Cloning thoroughbreds started in 2003, and show jumpers in 2006, but this is the first major push in polo. But experts say that genetics account for just 30% of a horse's performance, so even copying the perfect horse does not guarantee success on the field. And as the newly cloned horses will not be ready for competition until 2015, there is still plenty of time for the polo leagues to create rules on cloning science. One of the first issues: Should cloned animals be identified as such in competitions? (Read more animal cloning stories.)