Saturday, August 11, 2007

4th generation cloned pig

In this photo released by Prof. Hiroshi Nagashima, two fourth generation cloned pig are seen at a breeding facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, Friday, July 27, 2007. Nagashima, a Japanese geneticist claimed Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007, his research team created the world's first fourth-generation clone of a pig, an achievement that could help scientists using porcine models for medical and other research.

Earlier attempts to clone animals for several generations were problematic. Scientists had thought that was because the genetic material in the nucleus of the donor cell degraded with each successive generation, Nagashima said.

But the team's findings show that a large mammal can be cloned for multiple generations - in this case, the clone of a clone of a clone of a clone - without degradation, he said, while acknowledging that mice have already been successively cloned for multiple generations.

The results may prove important to breeders of other large animals, such as racehorses or bulls, looking for ways to keep a prized animal in the gene pool.

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