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Dev Biol. 2006 May 15;293(2):439-48. Epub 2006 Apr 3.

Cloned ferrets produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Room 1-111 BSB, 51 Newton Road, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.

Abstract

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) offers great potential for developing better animal models of human disease. The domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) is an ideal animal model for influenza infections and potentially other human respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis, where mouse models have failed to reproduce the human disease phenotype. Here, we report the successful production of live cloned, reproductively competent, ferrets using species-specific SCNT methodologies. Critical to developing a successful SCNT protocol for the ferret was the finding that hormonal treatment, normally used for superovulation, adversely affected the developmental potential of recipient oocytes. The onset of Oct4 expression was delayed and incomplete in parthenogenetically activated oocytes collected from hormone-treated females relative to oocytes collected from females naturally mated with vasectomized males. Stimulation induced by mating and in vitro oocyte maturation produced the optimal oocyte recipient for SCNT. Although nuclear injection and cell fusion produced mid-term fetuses at equivalent rates (approximately 3-4%), only cell fusion gave rise to healthy surviving clones. Single cell fusion rates and the efficiency of SCNT were also enhanced by placing two somatic cells into the perivitelline space. These species-specific modifications facilitated the birth of live, healthy, and fertile cloned ferrets. The development of microsatellite genotyping for domestic ferrets confirmed that ferret clones were genetically derived from their respective somatic cells and unrelated to their surrogate mother. With this technology, it is now feasible to begin generating genetically defined ferrets for studying transmissible and inherited human lung diseases. Cloning of the domestic ferret may also aid in recovery and conservation of the endangered black-footed ferret and European mink.

PMID:
16584722
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1892907
Free PMC Article
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