Telomere to Centromere Ratio of Bovine Clones, Embryos, Gametes, Fetal Cells, and Adult Cells

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Cloning and Stem Cells





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In 1997, Dolly, the first animal cloned from an adult cell, was born. It was announced in 1999 that Dolly might be aging faster than normal because her telomeres were shorter than age-matched control sheep. Telomeres, a repeated DNA sequence located at the ends of linear chromosomes, allow for base pair loss during DNA replication. Telomere shortening acts as a "mitotic clock," leading to replicative senescence. By using whole cell lysate and slot-blot analysis, we determined the telomere-to-centromere ratio (T/C) for bovine gametes, embryos, fetal tissues (brain, heart, lung, kidney, uterus, ovary, and skin), adult donor cells, and cloned embryos. Our data indicates a consistency in T/C among the various fetal tissues. The T/C of sperm is significantly lower than in oocytes. The T/C decreases from the oocyte to the 2–8-cell stage embryo, increases dramatically at the morula stage, and decreases at the blastocyst stage. Our data shows no significant difference in T/C between cloned embryos and in vitro fertilized (IVF) embryos, but there is a significant difference between cloned embryos and adult donor cells. In conclusion, the enucleated bovine oocyte has the ability to reestablish the telomere length of adult somatic cell donor nuclei.