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Abstract

Low developmental competence of bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos is a universal problem. Abnormal placentation has been commonly reported in SCNT pregnancies from a number of species. The present study employed Affymetrix bovine expression microarrays to examine global gene expression patterns of SCNT and in vivo produced (AI) blastocysts as well as cotyledons from day-70 SCNT and AI pregnancies. SCNT and AI embryos and cotyledons were analyzed for differential expression. Also in an attempt to establish a link between abnormal gene expression patterns in early embryos and cotyledons, differentially expressed genes were compared between the two studies. Microarray analysis yielded a list of 28 genes differentially expressed between SCNT and AI blastocysts and 19 differentially expressed cotyledon genes. None of the differentially expressed genes were common to both groups, although major histocompatibility complex I (MHCI) was significant in the embryo data and approached significance in the cotyledon data. This is the first study to report global gene expression patterns in bovine AI and SCNT cotyledons. The embryonic gene expression data reported here adds to a growing body of data that indicates the common occurrence of aberrant gene expression in early SCNT embryos. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 76: 471–482, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.