Interspecies embryo reconstruction in Tibetan antelope Pantholops hodgsonii by handmade cloning
Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) offers the possibility of preserving endangered species. Handmade cloning (HMC) has proved to be an efficient alternative to the traditional micromanipulator-based technique in some domestic animal species. This study investigates the possibility of reconstructing the embryos of Tibetan antelope Pantholops hodgsoni by HMC and reports the development of cloned embryos. Fibroblast cells derived from ear tissue from a female Tibetan antelope 3 h after death were used as nuclear donors, and iSCNT was performed using goat oocytes matured in vitro as recipients. A total of 118 embryos were produced by HMC with a cleavage rate of 70.14% and morula formation rate of 100%. However, no blastocysts were obtained in vitro. These results show that somatic cell nuclei of Tibetan antelope can be reprogrammed by goat oocytes. We also demonstrate that HMC is an efficient method of iSCNT using Tibetan antelope nuclear donors. Although the reconstructed embryos did not develop into blastocysts, the morula can be transferred into the womb of a recipient to continue development. Thus, we established an efficient method of iSCNT for producing transplantable embryos in Tibetan antelope by HMC.
Key words: Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer, Tibetan antelope, chiru, handmade cloning.