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 identity.
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 London, England.
"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 wit
Contact: Lane Stephenson
Texas A&M University