PART XII – ARE THERE EVER SITUATIONS IN WHICH CLONED ANIMALS PERFORM BETTER THAN THEIR GENETIC DONORS?
Apr 22, 2021
Are there ever situations in which cloned animals perform better than their genetic donors?
By Diane Broek
The simple answer to this question is yes, there are many situations where cloned animals have performed better than their genetic donors. Let’s share a couple of examples where this has occurred.
There are situations where male and female genetic donors acquire a disease or injury after the birth event. With a cloned animal, it can basically be a “do-over” and the situation does not occur provided that the animal is managed to prevent it.
- Let me give you one example where a high genomic bull had a respiratory infection early in his life. He basically was what industry practitioners call a “lunger”, for most of his life. The bull did not produce a lot of semen when he was of age, and the quality of that semen was poor. And he died young, after only a year or two of production. The decision was made to clone the animal, and the cloned calf did not have respiratory issues. He grew up to produce large amounts of high-quality semen for years.
- In another example, a female had to have a C section to deliver her first calf. The scar tissue developed after the C section affected her ability to produce embryos in ET and IVF and she never really met her full potential for production of offspring through ART (assisted reproductive technology). Four cloned heifers were produced from a cell line obtained from the female, and they all entered IVF first as bred heifers, and then again after they had calves in without a c-section. They produced large amounts of embryos in both ET and IVF for many years, and since there were four of them, the owner could use many different bulls to sample as offspring sires.
- There are certain requirements for negative disease testing on the donors or sires use for export programs. Many donors and sires have acquired disease titers that exclude them from export programs. These titers were acquired after the birth event. Since disease titers for Johnes Disease, Bluetongue, Bovine Leukosis can exclude the shipment of semen or embryos from those donors, it previously would have been impossible to get embryos for export out of that genotype. Today, the animal can be cloned, and provided that the gestating recipients are clean and the owner implements biosecurity programs to keep the animals clean throughout their lives, the cloned animals can produce the embryos and semen needed for export purposes.
- And finally, the number one reason cloned animals can perform better than their genetic donors is in the case of an early death event for the genetic donor, before they have produced any calves, or semen, or embryos. Every week we receive tissue samples from young rock stars that die young for various reasons. Previously, those genetics would have been long forever but today, they are easily recreated so that the owner and the breed can benefit from the contributions that the outlier has the potential to make to the herd or the breed.
For more information on how Trans Ova Genetics can produce a genetic twin to your rock star, simply call 1-800-999-3586 and ask for a Customer Service Representative or Diane Broek. We would love to provide a solution problem situation by making the irreplaceable…..replaceable!
Advanced Technology Sales and Production Manager
For more information on cloning, visit our livestock cloning page or past cloning blog posts.