World's 1st cloned cow dies

World's 1st cloned cow dies
Cloned cow Noto, right, which died Monday.
PHOTO: Ishikawa prefectural government

The world's first cow to be cloned from the somatic cells of an adult cow has died at the age of 19 years and 10 months, according to the Ishikawa prefectural government.

Named Noto, the cow was cloned in 1998 and attracted attention worldwide. The average life expectancy of a cow is about 20 years, and Noto is believed to have died of old age.

The prefectural government said Noto was found unconscious in a barn on May 4, and was given nutritional supplements and other treatment. However, its breathing became laboured on Monday and it died at 3:58 p.m. on the day.

In a joint research project between Kindai University and the prefectural government, Noto was created by taking somatic cells from the fallopian tube of a cow, and transplanting a cultured somatic cell nucleus into an unfertilized egg.

Since a cow cloned from an adult cow inherits almost the same genetic characteristics as the original cow, there are expectations for mass-production of cows with high-quality meat or that can produce a lot of milk.

However, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has asked farmers to refrain from shipping such beef due to concerns over the safety of cloned beef. Cloned cows are not distributed in the domestic market.

China clones first monkeys using non-reproductive cells

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    Scientists in China have created the first monkeys cloned by the same process that produced Dolly the sheep more than 20 years ago, a breakthrough that could boost medical research into human diseases.

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    The two long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) named Hua Hua and Zhong Zhong were born at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai, and are the fruits of years of research into a cloning technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

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    Until now, the technique has been used to clone more than 20 different animal species, including dogs, pigs and cats, but primates have proven particularly difficult.

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    The birth of the now six and eight-week old macaque babies also raises ethical questions about how close scientists have come to one day cloning humans.

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    Humans could be cloned by this technique, in principle, said Poo, though this team's focus was on cloning for medical research.

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    One day, the approach might be used to create large populations of genetically identical monkeys that could be used for medical research - and avoid taking monkeys from the wild.

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    "We tried several different methods, but only one worked," said senior author Qiang Sun, Director of the Nonhuman Primate Research Facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neurosciences.

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    "There was much failure before we found a way to successfully clone a monkey." Adult donor cells were attempted, but those clones died within hours of birth.

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    Other monkeys have been cloned in the past, by a different and simpler technique called embryo splitting, which mimics how twins arise naturally.

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    Still, the process that produced Hua Hua and Zhong Zhong remains "very inefficient and hazardous," because the two babies were the only born from a group of 79 cloned embryos, said British scientists Robin Lovell-Badge, group leader of The Francis Crick Institute.

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