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First cloned mammal in the country moves from Hawaiʻi to Smithsonian museum

University of Hawaiʻi/John A. Burns School of Medicine

The first cloned mammal in the country has moved from Hawaiʻi to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

The cloned mouse named Cumulina was born in a lab at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa — developed by a team led by Ryuzo Yanagimachi at the John A. Burns School of Medicine in 1997. The mouse lived for 31 months and died of natural causes in 2001.

Over 20 years later, Smithsonian Magazine has named Cumulina a national treasure. The mouse’s body has been donated to the museum for display in Washington.

Cumulina was the first mammal to be cloned more than once, and for several generations.

"I view Cumulina as being an ambassador to the world for the biomedical research that’s done at the University of Hawaiʻi. The University of Hawaiʻi is a world-class Research 1 university. The discovery that a mouse could be cloned over and over again happened here before it happened anywhere else in the world," said W. Steven Ward, JABSOM professor and director of the UH Institute for Biogenesis Research.

Ward says the university will now be recognized in the nation’s flagship history museum as having made a major discovery in biomedical science.

“I’m happy that more people can see her than here at IBR… It's very good for us and for Cumulina too,” Yanagimachi said.

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