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Cell Reprogram. 2010 Jun;12(3):347-55. doi: 10.1089/cell.2009.0096.

Generation of mtDNA homoplasmic cloned lambs.

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University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough, Leics United Kingdom.


Generally in mammals, individual animals contain only maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), as paternal (sperm)-derived mitochondria are usually eliminated during early development. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) bypasses the normal routes of mtDNA inheritance and introduces not only a different nuclear genome into the recipient cytoplast (in general an enucleated oocyte) but also somatic mitochondria. Differences in mtDNA genotype between recipient oocytes and potential mtDNA heteroplasmy due to persistence and replication of somatic mtDNA means that offspring generated by SCNT are not true clones. However, more importantly, the consequences of the presence of somatic mtDNA, mtDNA heteroplasmy, or possible incompatibility between nuclear and mtDNA genotypes on subsequent development and function of the embryo, fetus and offspring are unknown. Following sexual reproduction, mitochondrial function requires the biparental control of maternally inherited mtDNA, whereas following SCNT incompatibility between the recipient cell mitochondrial and transplanted nuclear genomes, or mtDNA heteroplasmy, may result in energy imbalance and initiate the onset of mtDNA-type disease, or disruption of normal developmental events. To remove the potentially adverse effects of somatic mtDNA following SCNT we have previously produced embryos using donor cells depleted to residual levels of mtDNA (mtDNA). We now report that these cells support development to term and produced live lambs in which no donor somatic mtDNA was detected, the lambs being homoplasmic for recipient oocyte DNA.

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