China clones sheep with new technique

April 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM
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XINJIANG, China, April 19 (UPI) -- Chinese scientists say the world's first transgenic sheep produced with a simplified technique dubbed "handmade cloning" was successfully born.

In 2009, donor cells were collected from a Chinese Merino sheep and by genetic manipulation a transgenic cell line was established, said researchers at the genomics organization BGI, the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shihezi University in Xinjiang.

The cloned sheep named Peng Peng, born March 26, is the result of an innovative simplified technique called Handmade Cloning, requiring less demand for sophisticated equipment and with simplified procedures, lower costs and higher production efficiency, a BGI release said Thursday.

"Peng Peng is developing normally and appears healthy," said Yutao Du, director of BGI Ark Biotechnology Co., one of BGI's affiliates focusing on large-scale production of transgenic and cloned animals.

"The most difficult task has been accomplished, the transgenic sheep production platform is established, we are ready for the industrial-scale development," she said.

Offspring of several economically important species, including cattle, pig, goat and water buffalo, have been produced by using the simplified cloning technique, researchers said.

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