A group of scientists at the RIKEN BioResource Centre have successfully cloned a mouse from a drop of blood using a donour’s tail. Details were then submitted to U.S. journal Biology of Reproduction. According to the researchers, the cloned mouse has the same genetic makeup as the donour, and could live the same lifespan. They also said that it could even conceive.
The team, led by Atsuo Ogura, in Tsukuba used a donour mouse’s tail, extracted a drop of blood, and isolated the leukocytes or white blood cells. As a subject for the cloning experiment, the scientists used somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the same cloning method used by Scotland’s Roslin Institute for Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal. There are different ways to clone a mouse. But as noted in the Biology of Reproduction, the study “demonstrated for the first time that mice could be cloned using the nuclei of peripheral blood cells.”
According to the Tsukuba-based researchers, the donour animals need not to be put to sleep and the collected blood can be immediately used for cloning. “This technique would be applicable for generating genetic copies of invaluable strains of mice, which cannot be preserved by other assisted reproductive techniques such as conventional in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.” With the successful cloning, researchers hope to use it for mass-production of farm animals. They also hope for the possibility of cloning animals that are considered endangered.
[via BBC News]