Cloned, fertilized embryos look alike

New report suggests faulty nuclear reprogramming not to blame for trouble with cloning

Nicole Johnston(njohnston@rockefeller.edu)
Nov 28, 2005

Researchers have shown that cloned embryos undergo complete nuclear reprogramming and resemble fertilized embryos. The report, appearing in the December 6 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, appears to refute the long-held belief that the high failure rate of cloning is due to faulty nuclear reprogramming of the donor cell nucleus to an embryonic state. Researchers suggest that the findings may only deepen the mystery of why cloning often fails, and demonstrate how far scientists have to go before improving the process.

"It's a surprising result that reprogramming obviously works very nicely," Heiner Niemann at the Institute for Animal Breeding in Neustadt-Mariensee, Germany, told The Scientist.

Thirteen mammal species have been successfully cloned to date, but only 1-5% of cloned embryos ever produce live young, regardless of species. In the current study, Xiangzhong "Jerry" Yang, at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Ct., along with...

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