A genetic preservation is the first step in the cloning process, allowing you to produce an identical genetic twin or clone, which will be born at a later place in time. A simple ear punch is all that is required to make a cell line or genetic preservation of a special cow or bull. The tissue collected is cultured for several weeks to produce literally millions of cells, which are then cryopreserved or frozen in vials, which are stored in liquid nitrogen. The cells will be stored until the client decides to move forward with the cloning process. At that time, a small amount of the cells will be used.
A genetic preservation serves as an insurance policy for breeders and owners of valuable cattle by enabling them to extend and develop a specific bloodline when additional production is needed or untimely losses or reproductive inabilities occur.
The DNA, cryogenically preserved from the tissue sample, can permanently store the genoptype of the elite donor animal, providing a genetic blueprint to recreate that cow, bull, heifer - or even a steer - at any time in the future.
When the original is not enough
When an individual animal has been genetically preserved, genetic twins or clones of that animal can be created using the stored cell line. Once cloned embryos are successfully produced through the SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer) process, they are implanted into health-certified recipients to be gestated and calved – creating identical twins of the original genetic donor.
Cloning allows breeders to re-create special individuals that may have been lost too early in their careers, or that have encountered reproductive challenges – thus inhibiting adequate development and extension of their genetic influence. The technology of cloning also can be a valuable tool for establishing a uniform and consistent herd of beef cattle.
Cloning technology allows breeders to recreate the genotype of a superior animal, providing a source to extend their genetic influence. Most often, bloodline development and merchandising opportunities are still possible if the original animal has been both genetically preserved and cloned.
Breeders most often look at cloning as a technology to:
- Produce a genetic twin of an elite animal no longer capable of producing embryos or semen (including steers).
- Produce a genetic twin of an elite animal that has died.
- Produce quantities of elite individuals for the purpose of large-scale, consistent genetic influence within a herd-building program.