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Cloning Stem Cells. 2006 Summer;8(2):69-78.

Chromosomal aneuploidy in African Wildcat somatic cells and cloned embryos.

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  • 1Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, 14001 River Road, New Orleans, LA 70131, USA.


In the present study, we compared the incidence of aneuploidy in in vitro fertilized domestic cat embryos (DSH-IVF) with that of African Wildcat (AWC) cloned embryos reconstructed with AWC fibroblast donor cells from different passages (AWC-NT). Fibroblast cells were cultured to passages 1 (P1), 3 (P3), 4 (P4), and 9 (P9), after which cells at each passage were karyotyped and serum-starved before being frozen for nuclear transfer. AWC-NT embryos were produced by fusion of a single AWC somatic cell at P1, P3, P4, or P9 to enucleated domestic cat cytoplast derived from in vitro matured (IVU) oocytes. DSH-IVF embryos were produced after IVU oocytes were fertilized in vitro with domestic cat spermatozoa. To determine chromosome numbers, embryos (2-4-cell) or fibroblast cells were cultured in medium containing 0.28 microg/mL of Colcemid for 22-24 h or 15-24 h, respectively. Subsequently, embryos and cells were placed in hypotonic solution, fixed, and stained for analysis of chromosome spreads by bright field microscopy. Chromosomal abnormalities in AWC fibroblast cells increased progressively during culture in vitro: P1 (43%), P3 (46%), P4 (62%), and P9 (59%). In fibroblast cells, hypoploidy (94/202, 46%) was the major chromosomal abnormality, and it occurred more frequently than hyperploidy (14/202, 7%; p < 0.05). While the percentage of hyperploid cells remained stable during all passages, the proportion of hypoploidy in fibroblast cells increased significantly after P4. The overall incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in AWC-NT embryos at P1 (45%), P3 (60%), and P4 (50%) was similar to that of the fibroblast cells from which they were derived; however, the incidence was higher for embryos reconstructed with donor fibroblasts at P9 (89%). Hypoploidy was the most common chromosomal abnormality observed in either AWC-NT or DSH-IVF embryos. AWCNT embryos reconstructed with donor cells at early passages (P1, P3, and P4) had similar frequencies of chromosomal diploidy, as did DSH-IVF embryos. Accordingly, based on the present results, for NT we are currently using cat donor cells at early passages, when the percentage of cells with chromosomal abnormalities is low. It is recommended that the chromosomal stability of each cell line be analyzed before use as NT donor cells to reduce the incidence of chromosomal anomalies in reconstructed embryos and to possibly produce a subsequent increase in cloning efficiency.

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