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5-Animals: Cows cloned from a drop of milk

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TITLE:  Cows cloned from a drop of milk
SOURCE: New Scientist, No. 2185
DATE:   May 8, 1999

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Cows cloned from a drop of milk

Calves can be cloned from cells in colostrum, the immune-boosting "first milk" that cows feed to their newborn offspring. The discovery should make it easier to clone cattle, but comes as French scientists publish the most complete description yet of health problems linked to the cloning process.

Colostrum is rich in white blood cells. But the Embryo Transplant Institute of Snow Brand Milk Products, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, cloned two calves using stray mammary gland cells in the secretion. "The previous method for cloning used somatic cells taken from the cows. ears," says Nobutaka Shiono of Snow Brand. The new technique will cause less distress and allow researchers to screen large numbers of cells for cloning.  However, cloning results in the deaths of many animals in infancy (This Week, 19 December, 1998, p. 4). In The Lancet (vol 353, p. 1489), a team led by Jean-Paul Renard of INRA, the French agricultural research agency in Jouy-en-Josas near Paris, describes the problems that afflicted a calf which was a clone of a clone. It dies of severe anaemia aged seven weeks after its spleen, thymus gland and lymph nodes failed to develop normally.


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