Although it is widely assumed that the cell type and genotype of the donor cell affect the efficiency of somatic cell cloning, little systematic analysis has been done to verify this assumption. The present study was undertaken to examine whether donor cell type, donor genotype, or a combination thereof increased the efficiency of mouse cloning. Initially we assessed the developmental ability of embryos that were cloned from cumulus or immature Sertoli cells with six different genotypes (i.e., 2 × 6 factorial). Significantly better cleavage rates were obtained with cumulus cells than with Sertoli cells (P < 0.005, two-way ANOVA), which probably was due to the superior cell-cycle synchrony of cumulus cells at G0/G1. After embryo transfer, there was a significant effect of cell type on the birth rate, with Sertoli cells giving the better result (P < 0.005). Furthermore, there was a significant interaction (P < 0.05) between the cell type and genotype, which indicates that cloning efficiency is determined by a combination of these two factors. The highest mean birth rate (10.8 ± 2.1%) was obtained with (B6 × 129)F1 Sertoli cells. In the second series of experiments, we examined whether the developmental ability of clones with the wild-type genotype (JF1) was improved when combined with the 129 genotype. Normal pups were cloned from cumulus and immature Sertoli cells of the (129 × JF1)F1 and (JF1 × 129)F1 genotypes, whereas no pups were born from cells with the (B6 × JF1)F1 genotype. The present study clearly demonstrates that the efficiency of somatic cell cloning, and in particular fetal survival after embryo transfer, may be improved significantly by choosing the appropriate combinations of cell type and genotype.
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