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Theriogenology. 2006 Jun;65(9):1783-99. Epub 2005 Nov 14.

Semen and reproductive profiles of genetically identical cloned bulls.

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  • 1Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL), Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), Building 75, Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.


In this comparative study, reproductive parameters and semen characteristics of cloned bulls (n = 3) derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) were compared to their original cell donor Holstein-Friesian (n = 2) bulls from the same enterprise to assess the differences in reproductive potential between a donor bull and its clones. The parameters evaluated included motility of fresh, frozen-thawed and Percoll-treated frozen-thawed spermatozoa, as well as in vitro fertilization (IVF) ability, embryo quality, birth and survival of calves following IVF and embryo transfer with frozen-thawed semen. With fresh semen, spermatozoa from one cloned bull had lower motility than its donor. Cloned bulls had higher velocity parameters in fresh semen, but those effects were not obvious in frozen-thawed or frozen-thawed semen selected with a Percoll gradient. Semen collected from cloned bulls had significantly higher IVF rates compared to donors; however, embryo development per cleaved embryo or quality of blastocysts did not differ between donors and cloned bulls. Pregnancy and live offspring rates from one donor and its cloned bull did not differ between fresh (40%, 16/40 versus 46%, 17/37) and vitrified/thawed (13%, 2/16 versus 25%, 4/16) embryo transfer following IVF. A total of 26 calves were obtained from genotypically identical donor and cloned bulls with no signs of phenotypical abnormalities. These preliminary results suggested that the physiology of surviving postpubertal cloned bulls and quality of collected semen had equivalent reproductive potential to their original cell donor, with no evidence of any deleterious effects in their progeny.

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