U.S. Scientists Look to Cloned Sheep for Inspiration

By Bill Lambrecht Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 9, 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

U.S. Scientists Look to Cloned Sheep for Inspiration


Bill Lambrecht Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Government researchers are counting on Dolly to reverse a decade of genetic engineering setbacks that yielded diabetic sheep, arthritic pigs and none of the "super animals" they were trying to produce.

Scottish researcher Ian Wilmut, who cloned Dolly from the cells of an adult sheep, is scheduled to visit the Agriculture Research Service in Beltsville on Wednesday to talk about his methods.

Soon, U.S. government scientists hope to deploy the cloning methods that Wilmut used to shock the world. Caird E. Rexroad Jr, research supervisor at the Agriculture Department's Gene Evaluation and Mapping Lab at Beltsville, said researchers hope to begin their own experiments within months. He said in an interview last week: "This is wonderful for us. We needed the stimulation from this as well as the opportunities it presents." The Beltsville scientists intend to use Wilmut's method but in a different way. Rather than using adult cells,a the U.S. scientists plan to use fetal cells for cloning. And instead of sheep, the scientists at Beltsville are hoping to use Wilmut's methods on cattle. But they want to use cloning to study genes for the purpose of producing bigger, leaner and faster-growing farm animals that need less food and produce less waste.ts Rather than cloning - creating a new animal from a single cell of an existing animal - researchers at Beltsville have been using a related genetic engineering method of transferring genes from other animals. And humans. In long-running experimentation that began in the mid-1980s, the Agriculture Department researchers transferred genes that control growth from humans and other mammals into farm animals. These genes - obtained by cloning - were injected into fertilized eggs that were implanted into farm animals in Beltsville. Growth Hormones Part of the experiment was successful: The genetic makeup of the pigs, sheep and other animals was changed, and the animals passed along the changes to their offspring. As a result of the new gene, many of the transgenic animals, as they are called, produced the growth hormone from their pituitary glands. But the problem that the government scientists have not been able to overcome is controlling the growth hormone produced by the experimental animals. The hormone caused diabetes and other ill effects in sheep. While some of the pigs were better muscled, many of them had health problems such as arthritis, pneumonia and lethargy that prevented breeding. "If you can't avoid the health problems, you can't go on," said Vernon G. Pursel, swine researcher at the Beltsville labs, explaining why he stopped most of that research several years ago. In his latest experiments, Pursel has been producing pigs implanted with genetic material called IGF1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor) in an effor t to avoid the unpredictable effects of growth hormone.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

U.S. Scientists Look to Cloned Sheep for Inspiration
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?