chapter  17
12 Pages

Cloning and the Beef Cattle Industry

Introduction............................................................................................................219 History of Cloning.................................................................................................220 Applications of Cloning to the Beef Cattle Industry............................................222 Cloning with Genetically Engineered Donor Cells ..............................................222 Challenges..............................................................................................................223 Research for Improved Efficiency.........................................................................225 Conclusions............................................................................................................226 References..............................................................................................................226

Nuclear transfer or cloning is a very powerful technology for the production of an unlimited number of genetically identical offspring. Cloning has been available for the commercial production of beef cattle, albeit very inefficiently, since the late 1980s, using embryonic donor cells. It was not until the birth of Dolly, the sheep, in 1997 that the true potential of cloning became apparent for enhancing production efficiencies of all livestock species. Dolly was produced by fusing a mammary gland cell from an adult sheep to an enucleated oocyte. This proved that at least some adult cells had not lost their potential to be reprogrammed to an embryonic state and give rise to a new, identical individual. This review will give an overview of nuclear transfer and the potential applications this technology has for improving the beef cattle industry. It will also address the current challenges related to cloning and the research being conducted to make this technology economically feasible to the industry.