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During the past decade the need for Artificial Reproductive Techniques in felids has greatly increased. Mostly, this is a result of growing expectations that these techniques may be applied in conservation biology and thereby contribute to saving wild felids from extinction. In this article we describe three most common methods of obtaining embryos in vitro in the domestic cat and its wild relatives: classic in vitro fertilisation, in vitro fertilisation by intracytoplasmic sperm injection and somatic cell nuclear transfer. Each of the methods provides a cleavage rate of around 50% and approx. 20% of embryos develop to the blastocyst stage. After the transfer of embryos produced by these methods, scientists obtained living offspring of the domestic cat, as well as several wild cats: the tiger, serval, fishing cat, caracal, ocelot, wild cat, sand cat, black-footed cat and the oncilla. These successes, in spite of the low efficiency of the discussed methods, are promising and suggest that biotechniques of reproduction will be valuable tools in the protection of wild species. Somatic cell nuclear transfer will allow to sustain the narrow gene pool in the critically endangered felids. For these reasons it is necessary to conduct further research on the optimization of artificial reproduction techniques in cats.
Model organisms are essential to study the genetic basis of human diseases. Transgenic mammalian models, especially genetic knock-out mice have catalysed the progress in this area. To continue the advancement, further sophisticated and refined models are crucially needed to study the genetic basis and manifestations of numerous human diseases. Coinciding with the start of the new era of post-genomic research, new tools for establishment of transgenesis, such as nuclear transfer and gene targeting in somatic cells, have become available, offering a unique opportunity for the generation of transgenic animal models. The new technology provides important tools for comparative functional genomics to promote the interpretation and increase the practical value of the data generated in numerous mouse models. This paper discusses the state-of-the-art of the nuclear replacement technology and presents future perspectives.
This study was conducted to investigate the influence of recipient cytoplasm on the development of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos, using recipient oocytes and donor cells that were obtained from cats, cows, and pigs. Bovine and porcine oocytes were collected from ovaries obtained at a slaughterhouse, and cat oocytes were collected from ovaries obtained at local veterinary clinics following ovariohysterectomy. Cumulus cells from oocytes of each species were used as donors. When cat cumulus cells were transferred into cow, pig, and cat oocytes, the percentages of fusion and cleavage in the cow-cat and pig-cat interspecies groups were similar to those in the cat-cat intraspecies group. There were no significant differences in the percentages of fusion and cleavage between the interspecies (cow-cat and pig-cat groups) and intraspecies SCNT embryos (cow-cow and pig-pig groups) in each recipient oocyte species. However, none of the interspecies SCNT embryos developed to the morula and blastocyst stage. The percentages of fusion and cleavage were significantly higher (P<0.05) in cow-cat SCNT embryos than in pig-cat SCNT embryos. In conclusion, bovine and porcine cytoplasm can be used to support the early embryonic development of interspecies SCNT with cat donor nucleus. However, the interspecies SCNT embryos could not develop to the late embryonic stage.
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