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Cloning Stem Cells. 2004;6(2):101-10.

The health of somatic cell cloned cattle and their offspring.

Author information

  • 1AgResearch Ltd., Ruakura Research Centre, Hamilton, New Zealand. david.wells@agresearch.co.nz


The cloning syndrome is a continuum with the consequences of abnormal reprogramming manifest throughout gestation, the neo-natal period, and into adulthood in the cloned generation, but it does not appear to be transmitted to subsequent offspring following sexual reproduction. Most in vivo studies on bovine somatic cell cloning have focused on development during pregnancy and the neo-natal period. In this paper, we report on the viability and health of cloned cattle in adulthood. From our studies at AgResearch, we find that between weaning and 4 years of age, the annual mortality rate in cattle cloned from somatic cells is at least 8%. Although the reasons for death are variable and some potentially preventable, the main mortality factor in this period is euthanasia due to musculoskeletal abnormalities. This includes animals with severely contracted flexor tendons and those displaying chronic lameness, particularly in milking cows. In contrast, no deaths beyond weaning have so far been encountered with the offspring of clones where the oldest animals are 3 years of age. In surviving cloned cattle, blood profiles and other indicators of general physiological function such as growth rate, reproduction, rearing of offspring, and milk production are all within the normal phenotypic ranges.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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