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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Feb 20;104(8):2738-43. Epub 2007 Feb 13.

Mice cloned from skin cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Biology and Neurogenetics, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Adult stem cells represent unique populations of undifferentiated cells with self-renewal capacity. In many tissues, stem cells divide less often than their progeny. It has been widely speculated, but largely untested, that their undifferentiated and quiescent state may make stem cells more efficient as donors for cloning by nuclear transfer (NT). Here, we report the use of nuclei from hair follicle stem cells and other skin keratinocytes as NT donors. When keratinocyte stem cells (KSCs) were used as NT donors, 19 liveborn mice were obtained, 9 of which survived to adulthood. Embryonic keratinocytes and cumulus cells also gave rise to cloned mice. Although cloning efficiencies were similar (<6% per transferred blastocyst), success rates were consistently higher for males than for females. Adult keratinocyte stem cells were better NT donors than so-called transit amplifying (TA) keratinocytes in both sexes (1.6% vs. 0% in females and 5.4% vs. 2.8% in males). Our findings reveal skin as a source of readily accessible stem cells, the nuclei of which can be reprogrammed to the pluripotent state by exposure to the cytoplasm of unfertilized oocytes.

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