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Simpler Method of Animal Cloning Using Nuclear Transfer is Focus of Two Papers in Cloning and Stem Cells.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers

BIOWIRE2K

LARCHMONT, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 3, 2003

Two variations of a new, user-friendly method of cloning an adult animal from a single cell using the nuclear transfer technique will make animal cloning much easier and more cost-effective, according to reports in the Spring 2003 (Volume 5 Number 1) issue of Cloning and Stem Cells, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The two papers are available free online at www.liebertpub.com/clo.

The demand for cloned animal embryos is rapidly growing. They have become an increasingly valuable resource for commercial agriculture and basic science research and are an important source of stem cells, which may be useful for treating a variety of medical conditions. Simpler and more efficient methods of cloned embryo production are needed to meet this rising demand. The "zona-free" cloning method described in this issue of Cloning and Stem Cells represents a significant advance that will enable scientists to produce cloned embryos in nearly half the time, using simpler equipment and requiring less operator skill and experience. This simpler technique yields live offspring with the same efficiency as previous methods.

"This research will come to be seen as an important milestone in somatic cell nuclear transfer and will have remarkable impact on further research," says Ian Wilmut, Ph.D., Editor-In-Chief of the journal and joint head of the Department of Gene Expression and Development at the Roslin Institute. "It is easier to learn these new methods. A person with no previous experience of micromanipulation can learn the basic routines in 3 weeks."

The two papers describing zona-free nuclear transfer originate from the laboratories of Teija Peura and co-workers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute, and Bjorn Oback, and colleagues at New Zealand-based AgResearch Ltd, the University of Waikato, and the University of Groningen (The Netherlands).

Animal cloning by nuclear transfer involves removing the nucleus from an adult animal cell and transferring it into an egg cell that has had its nucleus removed. The egg containing the donated nucleus is then stimulated to divide and form an embryo, and the embryo is transplanted into a female animal, where it continues to develop, resulting in the birth of cloned offspring.

Until now, nuclear transfer has relied on highly technical and precise methods involving micromanipulation to remove and inject the nuclei. The Oback paper describes a zona-free protocol used in cattle, in which the zona pellucida--a thick, transparent membrane that surrounds the egg--is removed, and the egg is split into two, allowing for easy removal of the nucleus. The contents of one or more enucleated eggs are then placed in a fusion chamber together with the donor nucleus from an adult animal and are fused via electrical stimulation. Peura's "reverse-order" zona-free cloning method involves removing the nuclei from zona-free sheep oocytes after the egg has already been fused with an adult donor cells. Both techniques proved to be efficient methods for producing cloned embryos and viable offspring.

Cloning and Stem Cells is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal, published quarterly in print and online, that focuses on understanding developmental plasticity and defining the molecular mechanisms that regulate differentiation or dedifferentiation of nuclei and cells. A table of contents and free sample issue may be viewed online at www.liebertpub.com/clo.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Human Gene Therapy, and Tissue Engineering. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 60 journals, books, and newsletters is available at www.liebertpub.com.
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