Cloning of Pig Cells

There have been several successes of cloning especially the birth of Dolly the sheep in 1997, which lived for six years. Nuclear transfer involves the fusion of somatic cells and enucleated egg cells. Cloning of pig cells will be the focus of this paper. Scientists have identified pig clones as a potential hope for the future because of the possibility of xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantation has resulted from the merging of cloning with an additional biotechnology technique of genetic engineering. In addition, cloning has led to new prospects of livestock breeding and advances in medical procedures. This paper will discuss the procedure involved in the cloning of pig cells. Cloning is a multi-step process that scientists have endeavored to advance for a long time. The success story of Dolly the sheep served as a breakthrough for the cloning of mammalian cells after the success of other species (Cibell 2002, p. 32). Cloning has its basis on the understanding of the processes involved in embryo development after fertilization. The egg cells have programmed machinery that presents it with the potential of cell division, and eventually differentiation into different cells, tissues, and organs. The genetic material transferred into the egg cells emanates from somatic cells. Somatic cells have all the genetic information that determines the phenotypic characteristics of an organism. The initial step in cloning is the isolation of somatic cells that will serve as donor cells. (Cibelli2002, p. 78). The cell type chosen often determines the viability of the process. Usually, somatic cells for use as donor cells are diploid in nature. The choice of the source of the somatic cells varies according to different studies, but the udder of pigs serves as a source of nuclear donors. The procedure of obtaining nuclear donors entails obtaining a tissue biopsy. Cells obtained from the biopsy undergo the required culture awaiting the other procedures.