Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer: advancements and problems

Cell Reprogram. 2013 Oct;15(5):374-84. doi: 10.1089/cell.2013.0036. Epub 2013 Sep 13.


Embryologists working with livestock species were the pioneers in the field of reprogramming by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Without the "Dolly experiment," the field of cellular reprogramming would have been slow and induced plutipotent cells (iPSCs) would not have been conceived. The major drive of the work in mammalian cloning was the interest of the breeding industry to propagate superior genotypes. Soon it was realized that the properties of oocytes could be used also to clone endangered mammalian species or to reprogram the genomes of unrelated species through what is known as interspecies (i) SCNT, using easily available oocytes of livestock species. iSCNT for cloning animals works only for species that can interbreed, and experiments with taxonomically distant species have not been successful in obtaining live births or deriving embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines to be used for regenerative medicine. There are controversial reports in the literature, but in most cases these experiments have underlined some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are incomplete during cell nucleus reprogramming, including the failure to organize nucleoli, silence somatic cell genes, activate the embryonic genome, and resume mitochondrial replication and function, thus indicating nucleus-cytoplasmic incompatibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Methylation
  • Nuclear Transfer Techniques*
  • Species Specificity*
  • Swine