Mar 23, 2022
Why do livestock breeders such as myself, use cloning technology?
A: Through the cloning process, progressive producers can duplicate the animals that contribute the most value in their herds and forward their goals to produce more efficient, healthier animals, and better quality food products. The influence of these animals, through breeding, can help create a more consistent supply of tender, flavorful beef, for example. Another example of a cloning application is in the case of an animal lost early in its breeding career due to death or injury; perhaps even before the value of its genetics was fully discovered. Cloning technology can also help extend an elite animal’s genetic influence to contribute to the improvement of food animal production, by increasing embryo or semen production through cloned animals. And cloning provides a unique opportunity for clients with superior castrated males (steers, geldings, barrows, and wethers) to produce an intact cloned male, for breeding purposes.
How can I preserve the genetics of my most elite animal indefinitely?
A: An elite animal, the genetic donor, provides a tissue sample that will be cultured into a cell line or Genetic Preservation (GP). These cells will be cryopreserved or frozen until they are used in the cloning process at a later date. The tissue sample may come from the ear or tail of the genetic donor animal. An economical alternative, an Express Tissue Bank (ETB), is provided for those producers who wish to preserve a large number of samples or simply are not certain they will move forward with the cloning process. In this program, the tissue sample is frozen intact. Ultimately, an ETB must be cultured into a GP, or cell line, if the client desires to clone at a later date.
What is a cloned animal?
A: A cloned animal is a genetic twin to an existing animal, just born at a later place in time.
How does the cloning process work?
A: The word “cloning” is simply a term to describe Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). Once cells are produced from the tissue sample provided by a genetic donor, they are combined with an enucleated oocyte (unfertile egg with the nucleus removed) and fused together using a process called electrofusion. The resulting embryos are cultured and transferred into recipient mothers within one week, with variation per species. “Dolly the Sheep” was the first mammal to be produced using SCNT cloning technology more than 20 years ago.
Does the animal I produce using cloning technology have the same DNA as the genetic donor?
A: In the cloning process, the animal produced using cloning technology will carry a nuclear genome (DNA) that is a genetic match to the genetic donor animal. In other words, nuclear genotypes (as produced for breed registry DNA genotyping) of the cloned animal will be the same as the genetic donor that provided the tissue sample to produce the cell line or Genetic Preservation. If you are cloning a breed that utilizes genomic evaluations, the genomics of the cloned animal will also be the same as the genetic donor.
How long has Trans Ova Genetics been cloning livestock?
A: For more than 40 years, Trans Ova Genetics has been working closely with cattle breeders on advanced reproductive technologies. They formed a joint venture with ViaGen in 2007 called Bovance, and purchased ViaGen in 2012. Today, Trans Ova Genetics provides cloning services for cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, and deer. They also provide Genetic Preservation services to exotic species. The experience of Trans Ova Genetics is unparalleled. It involves more than 20 years of experience with cloning technologies and encompasses thousands of animals.
Is there special care that Trans Ova Genetics provides to my cloned animals?
A: As with all advanced reproductive technologies, cloning is part of a carefully planned and implemented genetic advancement program, uniquely defined to achieve individual client goals. For clients that have animals at the elite genetics level and marketing caliber for cloning, Trans Ova Genetics has dedicated their trained, professional team specialists to ensure the best possible care through the entire process.
Does food from cloned animals and their offspring have to be labeled?
A: In January 2008, the FDA released their Final Risk Assessment that stated that the products from cloned animals and their offspring are safe, that there is no difference in food produced from cloned animals and their offspring, thus there is no reason to require labeling on all products.
The offspring of cloned animals are conventionally bred and are not cloned animals themselves.
If I am ready to move forward with a Genetic Preservation, Express Tissue Bank, or cloned animal request how do I proceed?
A: You can place an order for a Genetic Preservation, Express Tissue Bank, or a cloning agreement by simply calling 1-800-999-3586 Ext 3104 for Diane Broek. An order can also be placed through your Trans Ova Genetics customer service representative at any TOG location.
Advanced Technology Sales and Production Manager
For more information on cloning, visit our livestock cloning page or past cloning blog posts.