NT 20: First Clone in Polish History
Barlice - The first animal cloned in Polish history is a female rabbit called NT 20. A scientist team consisting of members from the Institute of Zootechnics in Barlice and from the Agricultural Academy of Poznan cloned NT 20 originally in early August at Krakow's National Research Institute of Animal Production.
The scientists used an original U.S. patented method of modified somatic cloning. Ear cells were taken from a mature transgenic female rabbit producing a human growth hormone in its milk. The nucleus of the somatic cell received from the ear was connected with a nucleus-less blastomere from another female. In September a surrogate mother gave birth to seven female rabbits, one of them revealing the genetic feature of the ear cell donor. Prof. Zdzislaw Smorag, who is leading the project, is confident that NT 20 is a healthy genetic copy of her mother, although he notes that cloned animals are often plagued by fatal defects. Remaining as a key question however is, whether the cloned rabbit is able to produce the human growth hormone in its milk, and furthermore if this feature can be passed to next generations. The answer will have to wait until NT 20 will reach sexual maturity about four months after birth in mid-January.