Mouse cloned from drop of blood
In the latest development in the fast-growing field of cloning, Japanese scientists have cloned a mouse from a single drop of blood from the tail of another mouse. According to researchers from the Riken BioResource Center, the cells from the blood could be used for cloning immediately after collection, meaning that the donor animal wouldn’t have to be euthanized. Previously, mice have been cloned from white blood cells found in the lymph nodes, bone marrow and liver, but this is the first study to demonstrate that mice could be cloned using the nuclei of peripheral blood cells.
The team of scientists isolated white blood cells from the donor mouse’s tail and used the nuclei for cloning, the same technique that produced Dolly the sheep in Scotland back in 1996. The process, known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, involves transferring the nucleus from an adult body cell—such as a blood or skin cell—into an unfertilized egg that has had its nucleus removed. The embryo is then placed inside a surrogate mother, allowing her to give birth to an exact genetic copy of the original animal.
An associated team of scientists recently produced almost 600 mice from one donor mouse after 25 consecutive rounds of cloning. This technique could be applied to creating copies of invaluable genetic strains of mice.