In Part I, we talked about preserving the DNA on your “once in a lifetime” animal – the Rockstar. We talked about the two options to preserve DNA – the Express Tissue Bank and the Genetic Preservation. And we talked about how these were the first steps in the cloning process. So today, we are going to talk about the next step after preservation – the actual cloning process or SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer). Remember, cloning is basically producing an identical twin, just born at a later place in time.
You found the rock star and you were wise enough to preserve that cow, bull, ewe, ran, sow, boar, or barrow using Trans Ova Genetics (TOG) preservation services. Your Express Tissue Bank or Genetic Preservation sample are in frozen storage, patiently waiting for you to take the next step into a cloning contract.
If you performed an ETB, you need to first upgrade it to a GP. If you started with a GP you are good to go.
Once you decide that you are ready to take the cloning step, you simply call Trans Ova Genetics at 1-800-999-3586 and one of our customer service representatives will walk you through the two options you have for the cloning process. Every species is different but in pigs:
The first option is to transfer cloned embryos produced using the DNA from your Rockstar, into TOG owned recipients. This is an all-inclusive service where we produce the embryos, own the recipients, make the transfers, gestate the sows, farrow in the piglets and you pick up weaned piglets.
The second option is to transfer cloned embryos produced using the DNA from your Rockstar, into your own recipients. In this option, you will select the recipient sows (first or second parity), synchronize them using a protocol provided by TOG, and present them for transfer on the assigned day. Trans Ova Genetics will perform the transfers and you will take the sows home the same day to continue their gestation and farrowing.
Once you have decided how you will do the transfers, we select a date that is appropriate for your needs and determine how many recipients we will need.
On the appropriate cloning date, our trained experts will perform the cloning process:
Unfertilized oocytes are sourced from oocyte donors, and enucleated (the nuclear material is removed).
Cells from the genetic donor are transferred into the enucleated oocytes to form a reconstructed oocyte.
Electrical current is passed through media containing the oocytes of the donor cell to the inner nuclear membrane of the enucleated oocytes(electrofusion), to form fused couplets.
The fused couplets incubate for a few days to form early stage embryos.
Resulting embryos are transferred into recipients.
Genetic twins are farrowed after the usual gestation period. If you have selected the option in TOG recipients, you will pick your genetic twins up after weaning.
Commonly Asked Questions
Please note the following – including commonly asked questions:
If you are cloning a female, will you get all female piglets? Yes. Please don’t ask me if you can have half female and half male😊 You will always get back the same sex that you sent in. They are clones or identical twins. We can’t change that. In the case of cloning a barrow, you will have all intact males because the castration occurred after the birth event.
Will the colors of the pig be the same as the Rockstar pig? Yes. Please don’t ask me to make a black pig out of a red pig😊 If you are cloning a spotted pig or Hampshire belted pig, please note that the spots or stripes can be different in each piglet based on the migration of melanoblasts that cause coat color.
What about cloning an animal that acquired a disease or injury later in life? Cloning basically allows for a “do over” of events that occur after the birth event. If your Rockstar acquires a disease, or has a career ending injury, the cloned piglets will start the timeline over and will not exhibit those issues. If your Rockstar has a genetic recessive disease, the cloned piglets will exhibit that as well – they are genetic twins, they have the same DNA profile.
Are cloned animals allowed in the food chain? Yes, they are. In January 2008, the FDA published a Risk Assessment that concluded that the meat from cloned animals and their offspring is safe for consumption and is not any different than foods produced using other breeding methods. Food products from cloned animals do not require special labelling. Cloning is simply another assisted reproductive technology (like AI, ET, IVF) that can be used by progressive livestock breeders.
Ready to Clone?
Now that you have read Part I and Part II on Preserving and Cloning your Rockstar, and if you are interested in hearing more about making the irreplaceable…replaceable, simply call 1-800-999-3586. We can start you down the path to another rock star with that first step of an ETB or a GP.
For more information on Trans Ova Genetics – Genetic Preservation and Cloning simply call 1-800-999-3586 and talk to Diane Broek. There is additional information on our website at www.transova.com.