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Establishment of an efficient somatic cell nuclear transfer system for production of transgenic pigs
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Gabor VajtaGabor Vajta, H Callesen
Handmade cloning (HMC) is now an established procedure used in several species for somatic cell nuclear transfer, but only applied in two related laboratories for pigs. The aim of this review is to facilitate widespread application by summarizing the process of establishment and explaining the background of the incorporated special approaches. Optimized steps of traditional cloning in pigs (in vitro maturation, activation, embryo culture) were merged with those of the micromanipulation-free HMC that has been modified according to the specific needs of sensitive porcine oocytes (partial zona digestion before enucleation, two-step zona-free fusion with the somatic cell; initiation of activation with the second fusion). The zona-free approach required embryo culture to the blastocyst stage before surgical transfer of embryos to the uterine horns of recipient sows in the proper phase of an unstimulated cycle. Eventually a competitive, inexpensive and reliable alternative to traditional porcine nuclear transfer cloning techniques evolved that is also suitable to produce transgenic offspring containing various genetic modifications to establish models for several human diseases with genetic background. Further improvements and involvement of additional techniques to increase the overall efficiency and facilitate practical applications are expected in the foreseeable future.