011206 Cloned Cattle and Pigs Are “Normal And Healthy”December 4, 2001
Nuclear transfer-based cloning at Infigen, Inc., has been found to produce cows and pigs with normal health and genetic characteristics, based on a four-year-long study that has followed these animals into adulthood. The study results were consistent for transgenic cattle (clones genetically altered to produce pharmaceutical proteins on a commercial scale in their milk) and for non- transgenic cattle. The Infigen study is the largest of its kind to date, and included nearly 120 live calves, and more than 50 piglets, derived from unique non-embryonic derived (somatic) cell lines. Further, the reported efficiency of the Infigen nuclear transfer technology for both cattle and pigs marks it as a commercially viable process, according to the study.
Infigen is a privately-held biotechnology company combining genomics and reproduction technologies to advance human health. The company's data was being presented at a scientific meeting sponsored by The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.
Infigen also presented the first detailed analysis of milk harvested from cloned Holstein cows. A preliminary biochemical fat, and protein analysis found that the milk is identical to milk taken from non-cloned cows found in the general population, and is safe for human consumption, according to the company. Results of the study will be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal in the first half of 2002.
“Infigen has demonstrated that its proprietary nuclear transfer-based cloning technology is a commercially viable platform that can produce valuable livestock for a variety of human therapeutic and agricultural applications,” said Michael Bishop, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer at Infigen. “General health exams, microarray analyses and other tests, as well as the longevity and normal levels of care afforded these animals, all demonstrate that Infigen clones are the equivalent of their non-cloned counterparts in every appreciable respect.” Exact data from the studies are being withheld pending publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal in the near future.
The study included an analysis of global methylation, a widely accepted metric of the genetic functionality of an organism. Analyses of the progeny of clones, and clones of clones, also supported the study's conclusions, Dr. Bishop said.
“Nuclear transfer-based livestock cloning is creating whole new industries for therapeutic production of pharmaceutical proteins; an important potential limitless source for replacement cells, tissues and organs for human transplantation; and the preservation of valuable genetic traits found in certain breeds of animals,” said Dr. Bishop. “Infigen is confident that this extensive report, as well as subsequent scientific publications, will help to advance the potential use of this new technology.”