Cloning in action: can embryo splitting, induced pluripotency and somatic cell nuclear transfer contribute to endangered species conservation?
Swegen A., Appeltant R., Williams SA.
The term 'cloning' refers to the production of genetically identical individuals but has meant different things throughout the history of science: a natural means of reproduction in bacteria, a routine procedure in horticulture, and an ever-evolving gamut of molecular technologies in vertebrates. Mammalian cloning can be achieved through embryo splitting, somatic cell nuclear transfer, and most recently, by the use of induced pluripotent stem cells. Several emerging biotechnologies also facilitate the propagation of genomes from one generation to the next whilst bypassing the conventional reproductive processes. In this review, we examine the state of the art of available cloning technologies and their progress in species other than humans and rodent models, in order to provide a critical overview of their readiness and relevance for application in endangered animal conservation.