Nuclear cloning is still a developing technique used to create genetically identical animals by somatic cell nuclear transfer into unfertilized eggs. Despite an intensive effort in a number of laboratories, the success rate of obtaining viable offspring from this technique remains less than 5%. In the past few years many investigators reported the reprogramming of specific nuclear activities in cloned animals, such as genome-wide gene expression patterns, DNA methylation, genetic imprinting, histone modifications and telomere length regulation. The results highlight the tremendous difficulty the clones face to reprogram the original differentiation status of the donor nuclei. Nevertheless, nuclei prepared from terminally differentiated lymphocytes can overcome this barrier and produce apparently normal mice. Study of this striking nuclear reprogramming activity should significantly contribute to our understanding of cell differentiation in more physiological settings.
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