Tough beginnings: alterations in the transcriptome of cloned embryos during the first two cell cycles

Dev Biol. 2007 Apr 1;304(1):75-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.12.015. Epub 2006 Dec 12.


Cloned embryos produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) display a plethora of phenotypic characteristics that make them different from fertilized embryos, indicating defects in the process of nuclear reprogramming by the recipient ooplasm. To elucidate the extent and timing of nuclear reprogramming, we used microarrays to analyze the transcriptome of mouse SCNT embryos during the first two cell cycles. We identified a large number of genes mis-expressed in SCNT embryos. We found that genes involved in transcription and regulation of transcription are prominent among affected genes, and thus may be particularly difficult to reprogram, and these likely cause a ripple effect that alters the transcriptome of many other functions, including oxidative phosphorylation, transport across membrane, and mRNA transport and processing. Interestingly, we also uncovered widespread alterations in the maternal (i.e., non-transcribed) mRNA population of SCNT embryos. We conclude that gene expression in early SCNT embryos is grossly abnormal, and that this is at least in part the result of incomplete reprogramming of transcription factor genes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cellular Reprogramming / physiology*
  • Cloning, Organism
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Transfer Techniques
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phenotype*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction