The effect of donor cell serum starvation and oocyte activation compounds on the development of somatic cell cloned embryos. Academic Article uri icon


  • Two experiments, one comparing nuclear transfer (NT) embryo activation compounds, the other donor cell treatments, were conducted with a goal of identifying factors that improve the in vitro development of cloned bovine embryos. In experiment 1, 539 NT embryos were produced by combining serum starved bovine fetal fibroblasts with enucleated in vitro matured oocytes, activated with ionomycin, then randomly allocated to be incubated for 4 hours in either Butyrolactone-I (BL-I) or 6-dimethylaminopurine (DMAP). There was no significant difference in development to blastocyst or compact morula of fused embryos at Day 6.5 between BL-I and DMAP activated embryos (22.4% vs. 20.2%; p = 0.18). Karyotyping of 20 blastocysts and compact morula from each group determined that 65% of BL1 and 63% of DMAP embryos were diploid with the remainder mixoploid (2n + 4n). In Experiment 2, the development of 389 NT embryos reconstructed from either serum starved or serum fed fetal fibroblasts was assessed. More Day 7 blastocysts and compact morula developed in the serum starved group (34.5% vs. 18.8%; p = 0.008). To verify the viability of BL-I activated embryos, 10 blastocytes from experiment 2 were transferred into 4 recipient cows. Two morphologically normal fetuses, genetically identical to the original fetal cell line, were surgically recovered at day 45 of gestation. In summary, serum starvation of bovine fetal fibroblasts prior to NT significantly improved development to blastocyst. Additionally, we have shown that BL-I is a novel alternative compound for use in combination with ionomycin to activate NT embryos.

published proceedings

  • Cloning

author list (cited authors)

  • Hill, J., Winger, Q., Jones, K., Keller, D., King, W. A., & Westhusin, M.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Hill, J||Winger, Q||Jones, K||Keller, D||King, WA||Westhusin, M

publication date

  • January 1999