CVM Researchers First to Clone Cat
Posted February 14, 2002
COLLEGE STATION - In what is believed to be the first success of
its kind, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine at
Texas A&M University have cloned a cat. A kitten, named "cc,"
was born to "Allie" a surrogate mother, on Saturday, Dec. 22,
The kitten is believed to be the first successfully cloned
companion animal, and Texas A&M is the first academic
institution in the world to have cloned four different species.
Previously, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine have
cloned cattle, goats and pigs.
cc and "Rainbow," her genetic donor, are both female domestic
shorthair cats. The announcement of the successful cat cloning was
delayed until DNA analysis could be performed to confirm genetic
This breakthrough in cat cloning at the College of Veterinary
Medicine at Texas A&M is reported in the current issue of
Nature, the prestigious scientific publication headquartered in
"cc is developing normally for a kitten its age and appears
healthy," said Dr. Mark Westhusin, who holds a joint appointment
with the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life
Sciences and is the lead investigator on the project. "A DNA
analysis confirmed cc is a clone, i.e. a genetic copy of the
donor," adding that "future scientific advances resulting from the
successful cloning of the cat are expected."
Although the cloned kitten exhibits a color pattern similar to
the cell donor, the color distribution is not exactly the same.
"The pattern of pigmentation in multi-colored animals is the result
of genetic factors as well as developmental factors that are not
controlled by genotype," explains Westhusin.
The clone was produced using nuclear transfer. Dr. Taeyoung Shin
performed the nuclear transfer procedures with Drs. Duane Kraemer,
Jim Rugila and Lisa Howe assisting with transfer of the cloned
embryos into the surrogate mother and delivery of the kitten. cc is
under the medical care of Drs. Rugila and Howe, both veterinarians
at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M
"With each new species cloned, we learn more about how this
technology might be applied to improving the health of animals and
humans," said Westhusin.
In August 2001, the first of five litters of cloned piglets were
born at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M. Other
cloned animals born at the university include a Boer goat, a
disease-resistant Angus bull, and the first Brahma bull. Texas
A&M researchers are also aggressively working to clone dogs and
"The knowledge we gain from cloning these animals could greatly
affect several areas of science and medicine," said H. Richard
Adams, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "With each
successful cloned species, we learn more about cloning procedures
and how to make the process more efficient."
The Missyplicity Project, a $3.7 million effort to clone a
specific mixed-breed dog named Missy, funded by Genetic Savings
& Clone, Inc., is helping to fuel the progress of Texas
A&M's cloning research program.
Established in 1916, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas
A&M is one of the world's largest veterinary colleges and is an
international leader in animal health care and research.
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
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