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First Academic Institution to Clone Three Species
COLLEGE STATION - Researchers at the College of Veterinary
Medicine at Texas A&M University have cloned a litter of pigs,
becoming the first academic institution in the world to have cloned
three different animal species.
Texas A&M researchers have successfully cloned cattle, goats
and most recently pigs and are aggressively working to clone dogs,
cats, and horses. On Wednesday, September 5, cloned animals
including five piglets, a goat, and two bulls were on display at a
news conference held at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas
A&M University where researchers and owners of the animals
The first of five litters of piglets were born on August 12.
"From the first litter, five piglets are healthy and growing
quickly," said Dr. Jorge Piedrahita who holds a joint appointment
with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the College of
Veterinary Medicine and is the lead investigator on the
The swine cloning project was a collaborative effort involving
scientists from the Center for Animal Biotechnology and Genomics
(CABG). The CABG, includes researchers from the College of
Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, The Health Sciences Center,
and the George Bush School of Public Policy.
"Dr. Fuller Bazer, an internationally recognized expert in swine
reproductive physiology, and his group provided essential expertise
that facilitated successful completion of the swine cloning
project," added Dr. Piedrahita. Dr. Bazer holds a joint appointment
with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College
of Veterinary Medicine.
"Our research in cloning swine will help increase cloning
efficiency and support the development of genetically modified
cloned swine for use in medicine and agriculture," added Dr.
A cloned Boer goat named Second Addition (registered name Downen
TX 63 684), was born on March 29. The donor was an 8-year-old Boer
Champion doe and a top producer in Ewing and Donna Downen's
breeding program of Early, Texas.
Second Addition, nicknamed Megan, is the result of a
collaborative research project conducted by Drs. Mark Westhusin,
Ling Liu and Taeyoung Shin from the Department of Veterinary
Physiology and Pharmacology, and Dr. Charles Long of Genetic
Savings and Clone Inc. She has similar color markings to the donor
and according to the Downens, is also quite similar in attitude and
disposition. "Megan will play a major role in our Boer breeding
program when she matures," said Ewing Downen.
In November 2000, a team of researchers lead by Dr. Mark
Westhusin at the College of Veterinary Medicine successfully cloned
what was believed to be the first animal specifically cloned for
disease resistance. The 10-month-old Angus calf, named "86 Squared"
was cloned using cells that were frozen for 15 years, representing
the longest time ever that genetic material has been maintained by
cryopreservation, thawed and then successfully used in cloning. 86
Squared, named for his exponential genetic potential, was born
three years after the death of Bull 86, his genetic donor.
In 1999, Dr. Mark Westhusin and a team of scientists at the
College of Veterinary Medicine, became the first to successfully
clone a calf from an adult steer, which was also the oldest animal
ever cloned - a 21-year-old Brahman. University researchers
accomplished the cloning of the steer, named "Chance," in a
yearlong project. Chance's offspring, fittingly named "Second
Chance," displays identical markings as his father and has
"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. That is what
makes the CABG's approach of developing multi disciplinary
collaborative projects so powerful.
"With each successful cloned species, we learn more about
cloning procedures and how to make cloning more effective. The
potential benefits to the livestock industry and medical science
could be immense," said Dr. James Womack, Director of the CABG.
The center's researchers have expertise in anatomy and cell
biology, developmental biology, endocrinology, immunology,
molecular and cellular biology, pathology, reproductive biology,
molecular and quantitative genetics, physiology and pharmacology.
The CABG provides a framework within which researchers can
successfully integrate their expertise in interdisciplinary and
multi disciplinary research efforts to benefit animal agriculture,
veterinary medicine, and human medicine.
Established in 1916, the College of Veterinary Medicine 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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