Bovine nuclear transfer embryo development using cells derived from a cloned fetus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Many different cell types have been used to generate nuclear transfer embryos and fetuses. However, little is known about the potential of fibroblasts derived from a nuclear transfer fetus as donor cells for nuclear transfer. The ability of cloned fetuses or animals to be cloned themselves is of great interest in determining whether successive generations of clones remain normal or accumulate genetic or phenotypic abnormalities. We generated a bovine fibroblast cell line from a cloned fetus, that continued to divide beyond 120 days (94 doublings,18 passages) in continuous culture. As long-term survival of cells in culture is a desirable characteristic for use in transgenic cell production, passage 2 and 18 cells were compared as donor cells for nuclear transfer (NT). When cells from passage 2 (2 weeks in culture) and passage 18 (4 months in culture) were used for nuclear transfer, there was no significant difference in development rate to blastocyst (35.4 versus 44.6%, P=0.07). A greater proportion of late passage cells were in G0/G1 whether under serum-fed (64 versus 56%, P<0.01) or serum-starved (95 versus 88%, P<0.01) culture conditions. Following embryo transfer, equivalent day 30 pregnancy rates were observed for each group (P 2: 2/19 versus P 18: 2/13). A slightly retarded fetus was surgically removed at day 56 and the remaining three fetuses died in utero by day 60 of gestation. Our results show that fibroblast cells derived from regenerated cloned fetuses are capable of both in vitro and in vivo development. The longevity of this regenerated cell line would allow more time for genetic manipulations and then to identify stable transfected cells prior to their use as NT donor cells. Although no live fetuses were produced in this study the results provide encouraging data to show that a cloned fetus can itself be recloned to produce another identical cloned fetus. Further studies on this and other recloned fetuses are necessary to determine whether the failure to produce live offspring was a result of inadequate sample size or due to the cell type selected.

published proceedings

  • Anim Reprod Sci

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Hill, J. R., Winger, Q. A., Burghardt, R. C., & Westhusin, M. E.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Hill, JR||Winger, QA||Burghardt, RC||Westhusin, ME

publication date

  • January 2001