Cloning adult farm animals: a review of the possibilities and problems associated with somatic cell nuclear transfer
In 1997, Wilmut et al. announced the birth of Dolly, the first ever clone of an adult animal. To date, adult sheep, goats, cattle, mice, pigs, cats and rabbits have been cloned using somatic cell nuclear transfer. The ultimate challenge of cloning procedures is to reprogram the somatic cell nucleus for development of the early embryo. The cell type of choice for reprogramming the somatic nucleus is an enucleated oocyte. Given that somatic cells are easily obtained from adult animals, cultured in the laboratory and then genetically modified, cloning procedures are ideal for introducing specific genetic modifications in farm animals. Genetic modification of farm animals provides a means of studying genes involved in a variety of biological systems and disease processes. Moreover, genetically modified farm animals have created a new form of 'pharming' whereby farm animals serve as bioreactors for production of pharmaceuticals or organ donors. A major limitation of cloning procedures is the extreme inefficiency for producing live offspring. Dolly was the only live offspring produced after 277 attempts. Similar inefficiencies for cloning adult animals of other species have been described by others. Many factors related to cloning procedures and culture environment contribute to the death of clones, both in the embryonic and fetal periods as well as during neonatal life. Extreme inefficiencies of this magnitude, along with the fact that death of the surrogate may occur, continue to raise great concerns with cloning humans.
J Lannett Edwards, F Neal Schrick, M D. McCracken, Sarel R. van Amstel, Fred M. Hopkins, Matt Welborn, and C J. Davies. "Cloning adult farm animals: a review of the possibilities and problems associated with somatic cell nuclear transfer" American Journal of Reproductive Immunology 50.2 (2003): 113-123.
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