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Cloning by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Feasible in Monkeys

Last Updated: January 24, 2018.

Cloning cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) is feasible by somatic cell nuclear transfer using fetal fibroblasts, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Cell.

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 24, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Cloning cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) is feasible by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) using fetal fibroblasts, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Cell.

Zhen Liu, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai, and colleagues examined the feasibility of cloning cynomolgus monkeys by SCNT to generate genetically uniform non-human primates for establishing animal models for research.

The researchers found that following SCNT, injection of H3K9me3 demethylase Kdm4d mRNA and treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A at one-cell stage correlated with improvement in blastocyst development and the rate of pregnancy of transplanted SCNT embryos in surrogate monkeys. Six pregnancies were confirmed in 21 surrogates for SCNT using fetal monkey fibroblasts, yielding two healthy babies. Twenty-two pregnancies were confirmed in 42 surrogates for SCNT using adult monkey cumulus cells, yielding two babies that were short-lived. Genetic analysis in both cases confirmed that the nuclear DNA of the offspring originated from the nucleus donor cell, and mitochondria DNA of the offspring originated from the oocyte donor monkey.

"This study demonstrated that cloning of non-human primates is feasible by SCNT using fetal somatic cells, which could be efficiently modified by genetic editing and screening in vitro," the authors write. "Such cloning allows the production of genetically uniform monkeys as animal models for basic research in primate biology and for studying human disease mechanisms and therapeutic treatments."

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