Ongoing research to identify the most suitable type of donor cell for nuclear transfer (NT) has suggested that less differentiated stem cells may be better donors than other somatic cell types. Recently, we have reported the isolation and characterization of porcine skin-originated sphere (PSOS) stem cells from fetal skin, making it possible to test this hypothesis in a nonrodent animal model. In the present study, we have investigated and compared the feasibility and preimplantation developmental efficiency of using fetal PSOS cells and fibroblasts as nuclear-transfer donors. The majority of fetal PSOS cells are in the G1/ G0 stage of the cell cycle, which is desirable for NT. During long-term in vitro culture, fetal PSOS cells had greater genome stability, with a lower frequency of abnormal karyotypes than fetal fibroblast cells. Embryos cloned from PSOS cells showed enhanced preimplantation development compared with fibroblast cloned embryos, which is indicated by an increased rate of blastocyst development and a higher total cell number in Day 7 blastocysts. The gene expression profile of genes critical for early development from eight-cell-stage PSOS NT embryos more closely resembled the pattern observed from in vivo-produced embryos compared with that of fibroblast-cloned embryos. Cumulatively, our data suggest that fetal PSOS cells may be better donor cells for NT in the pig.
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