On the 23rd February 1997 the news leaked that for the first time ever, scientists had managed to clone an adult mammal for the very first time. Dr Ian Wilmut and his team at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, had achieved the live birth of the famous “Dolly the sheep” (born in 19961), possibly the most famous sheep in the world.
In order to understand what animal cloning is, how it works, and how it is used today, we will take a look at what is meant by the words “clone” and “cloning”, a very brief history of animal cloning and how Ovoclone has the necessary technology to provide the solution you could be looking for if you want to preserve the legacy of your beloved pet or prized animal.
WHAT IS A CLONE AND HOW ARE THEY MADE?
Clones are basically two organisms that share the same genetic material. Although not scientifically exact, it can help to think of clones as being identical twins that are born at different times. And, like with identical twins, although their genetic makeup is the same, the individual clones will have differences according to their own different life experiences.
The technique most frequently used for cloning today is known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). First, a sample of the DNA of the animal needs to be obtained. This could be from a cryopreserved sample, or in the case of a valuable animal meeting an untimely end, be from a biopsy immediately after passing.
The embryologists then need to take an egg cell (for the correct species) and remove the nucleus from this egg cell. This basically creates an empty egg cell with none of its own genes, but otherwise with all the functionality to be fertilized and then undergo embryonic development. The DNA from the nucleus of the donor animal will then be placed into this recipient egg cell, and if the process is successful the cell will start dividing and the embryo will form. The embryo is carefully cultured (grown) in the laboratory until it is ready to be transferred to the uterus of the surrogate animal (as in regular in vitro fertilization techniques). The resulting pregnancy is then carried to completion until the clone is delivered.
WHAT ANIMALS HAVE BEEN CLONED TO DATE?
To date, at least 25 different species have been reported to been successfully cloned from adult animals2 , amongst others the domestic cat in 2000, horse 2003, dog 2005, and camel in 2009. Some interesting animal cloning facts include:
- Cloning has been used in agriculture to produce genetically identical animals for research purposes, to preserve endangered species, and to produce animals with desirable traits.
- The first pet to be cloned was a cat named “CC” (short for Carbon Copy) in 2001.
- Hundreds of dogs and horses have been cloned to date, making them the top two animal species for cloning.
- Cloning is not the same as genetic engineering, as it does not involve the manipulation of an animal’s genes.
Cloning is of extreme interest in equine reproduction, allowing you to preserve the genetic legacy of an exceptional horse, and in agriculture to increase yields in food production. But, it is not just for sporting achievements or increased profits. At Ovoclone our team of veterinarians and specialists can secure the genetics of your best animals and favorite pets, and keep it in our laboratory until you decide to use it for cloning. This process is easy, secure, and affordable.
Contact us today if you are interested in animal cloning and one our specialists will get in touch with you to explain how the process works. Our team of professionals can begin the replication of your animal after the DNA sample (generally skin tissue) is received. And, you can rest assured knowing the our excellent team carry out the cloning in a highly secure laboratory with the best protocols and techniques to complete the procedure successfully. Furthermore, all animals cloned by Ovoclone will undergo thorough veterinary examinations to ensure they are in good health.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
1 I. Wilmut, A. E. Schnieke, J. McWhir, A. J. Kind & K. H. S. Campbell. Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells. Nature, volume 385, pages 810–813 (1997)
2. Gambini A, Briski O, Canel NG. State of the art of nuclear transfer technologies for assisting mammalian reproduction. Mol Reprod Dev. 2022 May;89(5-6):230-242.