Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer - How Cloning is Now Possible


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Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is a cloning process that involves removing the nucleus of an egg cell and inserting the nucleus from a somatic cell. The nucleus is then “reprogrammed” by the egg cell and contains the DNA of the donor. After “fusing” the somatic cell’s nucleus and egg cell, the egg cell is stimulated and begins to divide. After the single cell divides and forms a blastocyst, it is transferred to a “surrogate mother”, where the blastocyst will continue to divide and produce a nearly identical clone of the somatic cell’s donor. The purpose of the article was to test the hypothesis that differentiated cells have a higher cloning success rate than adult stem cells.

In order to test out this hypothesis, hematopoietic stem cells at different stages (stem cells, progenitor cells and granulocytes) were used. The first stage of somatic cell nuclear transfer, the development of blastocysts, was tested among the stem cells, progenitor cells and granulocytes. According to the article, the success rate of cloning “increased with the stage of differentiation, with 8% for stem cells, 11% for progenitor cells, and 35% for the granulocytes. According to the article, most of the stem and progenitor cells stopped dividing at the two and four cell stage.

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Because the highest success rate for the growth of blastocysts was in the granulocytes, they were used for the somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning. The experiment consisted of over 1300 somatic cell nuclear transfers from granulocytes. Between 35-39% of the embryos became blastocysts, and two mice pups were produced from surrogate mothers. Ultimately, these results support the hypothesis that differentiated cells have a higher probability of successful cloning than stem cells.

In terms of methods and procedures, the article explains where the mice specimen and cells were obtained. The article also explains in detail the procedures for the preparation of the donor cells, nuclear transfer, the culture and transfer for mice embryos, RNA isolation, and the statistical analysis for the results. Despite the detailed description of the materials and procedures used in the experiment, much of the terminology used throughout the article is not explained, and I had difficulty at times understanding the context of the article. Furthermore, the article does not explain why the cloning efficiency of stem cells and progenitor cells was lower than the granulocytes.

From reading this article on somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning, I have learned that understanding the different stages of the cell cycle and the development stages of embryos is crucial towards advancements in cloning. Furthermore, from this article I’ve learned that cloning an embryo is not always completely successful. As stated in the article, the success rate for a granulocyte reaching the blastocyst stage was only about 35%, and only 2 cloned mice pups were produced from surrogate mothers during the experiment.

This article provides crucial information for future research in cloning. The data gathered from the SCNT mice experiment can be used for future research because it shows which types of cells have the highest success rate for cloning.

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