Asia-Pacific

China 'clones castrated pig who survived 2008 earthquake'

File photo of Zhu Jianqiang taken in July 2008
Image caption Hero pig Zhu Jianqiang "surprised us again" said scientists

Chinese scientists have cloned a pig which was hailed a hero in 2008 after surviving more than a month under earthquake rubble, a newspaper reports.

Six piglets have been produced with DNA identical to Zhu Jiangqiang, or "Strong-Willed Pig", the Hong Kong-based Sunday Morning Post says.

The cloning project was a success even though Zhu is castrated and is five years old (60 years in human age).

Zhu survived the 8.0 magnitude quake that rocked Sichuan province in 2008.

More than 90,000 people died or went missing in what was considered in China to be the worst natural disaster in a generation.

The 330-pound (150kg) Zhu is thought to have survived in the ruins of his sty by chewing charcoal and drinking rainwater, the AFP news agency reports.

He is said to have suffered severe trauma from being buried under rubble for 36 days.

"The wonderful pig surprised us again," Du Yutao, the head of the cloning project, told the Sunday Morning Post.

The newspaper says the piglets bear a striking resemblance to their dad - with a birthmark between their eyes.

They are likely to be paired off and sent to a museum and a genetic institute, the paper reports.

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