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Cell Reprogram. 2011 Jun;13(3):215-23. doi: 10.1089/cell.2010.0088. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Altered gene expression profiles in the brain, kidney, and lung of one-month-old cloned pigs.

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  • 1Center for Regenerative Biology, Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 06269, USA.


Although numerous mammalian species have been successfully cloned by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), little is known about gene expression of cloned pigs by SCNT. In the present study, expression profiles of 1-month-old cloned pigs generated from fetal fibroblasts (n = 5) were compared to those of age-matched controls (n = 5) using a 13K oligonucleotide microarray. The brain, kidney, and lung were chosen for microarray analysis to represent tissues from endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm in origin. In clones, 179 and 154 genes were differentially expressed in the kidney and the lung, respectively (fold change >2, p < 0.05, false discovery rate = 0.05), whereas only seven genes were differentially expressed in the brain of clones. Functional analysis of the differentially expressed genes revealed that they were enriched in diabetic nephropathy in the kidney, delayed alveologenesis as well as downregulated MAPK signaling pathways in the lung, which was accompanied with collapsed alveoli in the histological examination of the lung. To evaluate whether the gene expression anomalies are associated with changes in DNA methylation, global concentration of the methylated cytosine was measured in lung DNA by HPLC. Clones were significantly hypermethylated (5.72%) compared to the controls (4.13%). Bisulfite-pyrosequencing analyses of the promoter regions of differentially expressed genes, MYC and Period 1 (PER1), however, did not show any differences in the degree of DNA methylation between controls and clones. Together, these findings demonstrate that cloned pigs have altered gene expression that may potentially cause organ dysfunction.

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