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Keywords:

  • Nuclear transfer;
  • Cloning;
  • Embryonic stem;
  • Reprogramming

Abstract

Therapeutic cloning, whereby nuclear transfer (NT) is used to generate embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from blastocysts, has been demonstrated successfully in mice and cattle. However, if NT-ESCs have abnormalities, such as those associated with the offspring produced by reproductive cloning, their scientific and medical utilities might prove limited. To evaluate the characteristics of NT-ESCs, we established more than 150 NT-ESC lines from adult somatic cells of several mouse strains. Here, we show that these NT-ESCs were able to differentiate into all functional embryonic tissues in vivo. Moreover, they were identical to blastocyst-derived ESCs in terms of their expression of pluripotency markers in the presence of tissue-dependent differentially DNA methylated regions, in DNA microarray profiles, and in high-coverage gene expression profiling. Importantly, the NT procedure did not cause irreversible damage to the nuclei. These similarities of NT-ESCs and ESCs indicate that murine therapeutic cloning by somatic cell NT can provide a reliable model for preclinical stem cell research.