Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells

Nature. 1997 Feb 27;385(6619):810-3. doi: 10.1038/385810a0.


Fertilization of mammalian eggs is followed by successive cell divisions and progressive differentiation, first into the early embryo and subsequently into all of the cell types that make up the adult animal. Transfer of a single nucleus at a specific stage of development, to an enucleated unfertilized egg, provided an opportunity to investigate whether cellular differentiation to that stage involved irreversible genetic modification. The first offspring to develop from a differentiated cell were born after nuclear transfer from an embryo-derived cell line that had been induced to become quiescent. Using the same procedure, we now report the birth of live lambs from three new cell populations established from adult mammary gland, fetus and embryo. The fact that a lamb was derived from an adult cell confirms that differentiation of that cell did not involve the irreversible modification of genetic material required for development to term. The birth of lambs from differentiated fetal and adult cells also reinforces previous speculation that by inducing donor cells to become quiescent it will be possible to obtain normal development from a wide variety of differentiated cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Fusion
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clone Cells
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Embryo Transfer / veterinary
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fetus / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Genetic Engineering*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology
  • Nuclear Transfer Techniques*
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction, Asexual
  • Resting Phase, Cell Cycle
  • Sheep / embryology
  • Sheep / genetics*