Clones have lower immune systems

Friday, February 18, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:57 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

What was learned: A team of MU researchers has discovered that immune systems of cloned animals are compromised in comparison to their naturally born counterparts.

How they did it: Bart Carter, a former MU researcher, Jeff Carroll, animal physiologist of the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service; Scott Korte, veterinary pathobiology research fellow; and Randall Prather, professor in reproductive biology; examined the innate immune responses of cloned versus naturally born miniature swine by injecting identical doses of lipopolysaccharide into each specimen.

It caused cytokine levels in cells to rise. This was monitored in blood samples taken from each individual swine.

The results indicated that the immune response in cloned animals was markedly decreased relative to the natural-born animals.

Why it matters: Cloned animals are used for research in exploring treatments for diseases such as cancer and for xenotransplantation, a process by which organ transplants between animals and humans are possible. In the past, cloned animals had a lower survival rate than naturally born animals. Further research is needed to determine whether such a link is responsible for the higher rate of mortality in cloned animals.

Source: MU News Bureau

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