Fourth-generation cloned pigs in Japan

14-08-2007 | |

A geneticist in Japan claims his research team created the world’s first fourth-generation cloned pig.

The cloned pig was born at Tokyo’s Meiji University in July. Hiroshi Nagashima, the geneticist who led the project, said that previous attempts to clone animals for several generations proved problematic.

He added it that it could be due to scientific claims of genetic material in the nucleus of the donor cell degrading with each successive generation.

Multiple generations
However, Nagashima’s team found that a large mammal can be cloned for multiple generations (which is: a clone of a clone of a clone of a clone) without degradation, acknowledging that the process had already been successful with mice.

Akira Onishi, a geneticist from the government-affiliated Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council, noted that Nagashima’s animal could be history’s very first fourth-generation cloned pig. “I am not aware of any other cases,” said Onishi.

“The cloning success rate has been rather low until now, regardless of species,” he added. “Researchers have been trying to improve efficiency, but there hasn’t been any real progress. We needed to see this problem resolved.”

It is an achievement that could help scientists in medical and other research.


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