Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cloned Pigs Differ from Originals in Looks and Behavior

15.04.2003


Overhead comparison of cloned pigs shows hair growth pattern variation#
© NC State University


New research at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine indicates that cloned pigs can have the same degree of variability in physical appearance and behavior as normally bred animals. Two separate studies show that while clones are genetically identical to the original animal, the similarities end there.

This dispels the commonly held notion that cloned animals retain the physical and behavioral attributes of the animal from which they were cloned. The research was conducted by Dr. Jorge

Piedrahita, professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State, and colleagues at Texas A&M University. His study on cloned pig behavior, which appears in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, is the first published research on the behavior of cloned mammals. The study on cloned pig physiology, which appears in Biology of Reproduction, is the first study on clone physiology that included control subjects.



Piedrahita says the implications are far-reaching. “The technology of cloning has been sold to the public as a way of creating a group of identical animals and, as such, there are companies that have been set up around this concept, especially for pet cloning. The implication is that your cloned pet is going to behave and look like the one you already have – and that will not be the case,” he said.

“We demonstrated in our behavioral paper that the behavior of clones is not identical. They are not homogeneous, so you cannot expect your cloned pet to behave like your original pet, even discounting environment. We’ve cloned animals that were raised in the same environment and they still didn’t act the same,” Piedrahita said.
In the behavioral study, two litters of cloned female pigs, consisting of five and four pigs respectively, and two control litters – each with four purebred pigs – were used. The purebred control pigs were of the same breed and sex and were born within the same week as their matched cloned litter. The cloned pigs were compared with the purebreds on a number of criteria such as food preferences and temperament.

In the physical study, the pigs were compared using a series of physiological and genetic parameters. The results indicated that while cloning creates animals within the normal phenotype – the appearance of an organism with respect to a group of characters – it increases the variability associated with some traits. “That means that you can’t use cloned animals to reduce the size of groups involved in animal experiments,” Piedrahita said.

Piedrahita says scientists must be very careful with cloning, since genetic errors can be introduced into the DNA of the clone during the process.

“Cloning advocates are calling them normal, healthy clones, but we don’t think that is always the case. Some of those animals are going to be normal and very healthy but others will not. They are healthy enough to survive but that doesn’t make them as healthy as non-cloned animals. At this point, we just don’t have a lot of the answers,” he said.

“While clones are genetically identical, physical characteristics such as size, weight and hair type may not be the same because the DNA has been modified during the cloning process in such a way that it affects the activity of certain genes,” Piedrahita adds.

Piedrahita believes the behavioral and physiological variables will run throughout all cloned animals. “Any technology that’s being sold that utilizes the clone itself, not the offspring of the clone, is the one that you have to be very careful with. That includes applications such as pet cloning, and the reproduction of high-production dairy cows or thoroughbred racehorses,” he said.

Piedrahita says the benefits of cloning are better realized when the clone has offspring of its own. That’s because any genetic errors are corrected, meaning that the original animal and the offspring of the clone will have the same genetic merit.

Piedrahita cites bull breeding as an example. “Say you have a dairy bull of high genetic merit so that, when mated with any cow, the offspring of that cow produces more milk. Now, let’s say that bull produces very little sperm and has difficulty producing offspring. You could clone that animal, and then breed the clones. The offspring of the clones will have the same genetic merit as the original bull that allows cows to produce more milk.

“The bottom line is this: While clones are genetically identical, physical characteristics such as size, weight and hair type may not be the same because the DNA has been modified during the cloning process in such a way that it affects the activity of certain genes,” he said.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Greg Thomas, | NC State University
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/03_04/113.htm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>