Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cloned Pigs Differ From Originals In Looks And Behavior

Date:
April 16, 2003
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
New research at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine indicates that cloned pigs can have the same degree of variability in physical appearance and behavior as normally bred animals. Two separate studies show that while clones are genetically identical to the original animal, the similarities end there.

New research at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine indicates that cloned pigs can have the same degree of variability in physical appearance and behavior as normally bred animals. Two separate studies show that while clones are genetically identical to the original animal, the similarities end there.

This dispels the commonly held notion that cloned animals retain the physical and behavioral attributes of the animal from which they were cloned. The research was conducted by Dr. Jorge

Piedrahita, professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State, and colleagues at Texas A&M University. His study on cloned pig behavior, which appears in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, is the first published research on the behavior of cloned mammals. The study on cloned pig physiology, which appears in Biology of Reproduction, is the first study on clone physiology that included control subjects.

Piedrahita says the implications are far-reaching. "The technology of cloning has been sold to the public as a way of creating a group of identical animals and, as such, there are companies that have been set up around this concept, especially for pet cloning. The implication is that your cloned pet is going to behave and look like the one you already have – and that will not be the case," he said.

"We demonstrated in our behavioral paper that the behavior of clones is not identical. They are not homogeneous, so you cannot expect your cloned pet to behave like your original pet, even discounting environment. We've cloned animals that were raised in the same environment and they still didn't act the same," Piedrahita said.

In the behavioral study, two litters of cloned female pigs, consisting of five and four pigs respectively, and two control litters – each with four purebred pigs – were used. The purebred control pigs were of the same breed and sex and were born within the same week as their matched cloned litter. The cloned pigs were compared with the purebreds on a number of criteria such as food preferences and temperament.

In the physical study, the pigs were compared using a series of physiological and genetic parameters. The results indicated that while cloning creates animals within the normal phenotype – the appearance of an organism with respect to a group of characters – it increases the variability associated with some traits. "That means that you can't use cloned animals to reduce the size of groups involved in animal experiments," Piedrahita said.

Piedrahita says scientists must be very careful with cloning, since genetic errors can be introduced into the DNA of the clone during the process.

"Cloning advocates are calling them normal, healthy clones, but we don't think that is always the case. Some of those animals are going to be normal and very healthy but others will not. They are healthy enough to survive but that doesn't make them as healthy as non-cloned animals. At this point, we just don't have a lot of the answers," he said.

"While clones are genetically identical, physical characteristics such as size, weight and hair type may not be the same because the DNA has been modified during the cloning process in such a way that it affects the activity of certain genes," Piedrahita adds.

Piedrahita believes the behavioral and physiological variables will run throughout all cloned animals. "Any technology that's being sold that utilizes the clone itself, not the offspring of the clone, is the one that you have to be very careful with. That includes applications such as pet cloning, and the reproduction of high-production dairy cows or thoroughbred racehorses," he said.

Piedrahita says the benefits of cloning are better realized when the clone has offspring of its own. That's because any genetic errors are corrected, meaning that the original animal and the offspring of the clone will have the same genetic merit.

Piedrahita cites bull breeding as an example. "Say you have a dairy bull of high genetic merit so that, when mated with any cow, the offspring of that cow produces more milk. Now, let's say that bull produces very little sperm and has difficulty producing offspring. You could clone that animal, and then breed the clones. The offspring of the clones will have the same genetic merit as the original bull that allows cows to produce more milk.

"The bottom line is this: While clones are genetically identical, physical characteristics such as size, weight and hair type may not be the same because the DNA has been modified during the cloning process in such a way that it affects the activity of certain genes," he said.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Cloned Pigs Differ From Originals In Looks And Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030416085546.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2003, April 16). Cloned Pigs Differ From Originals In Looks And Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030416085546.htm
North Carolina State University. "Cloned Pigs Differ From Originals In Looks And Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030416085546.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins