The analysis of telomere length and telomerase activity in cloned pigs and cows

H. Y. Jeon, S. H. Hyun, G. S. Lee, H. S. Kim, S. Kim, Y. W. Jeong, S. K. Kang, B. C. Lee, J. Y. Han, C. Ahn, Woo Suk Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Inefficiency in the production of cloned animals is most likely due to epigenetic reprogramming errors after somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). In order to investigate whether nuclear reprogramming restores cellular age of donor cells after SCNT, we measured telomere length and telomerase activity in cloned pigs and cattle. In normal pigs and cattle, the mean telomere length was decreased with biological aging. In cloned or transgenic cloned piglets, the mean telomere length was elongated compared to nuclear donor fetal fibroblasts and age-matched normal piglets. In cloned cattle, no increases in mean telomere length were observed compared to nuclear donor adult fibroblasts. In terms of telomerase activity, significant activity was observed in nuclear donor cells and normal tissues from adult or new-born pigs and cattle, with relatively higher activity in the porcine tissues compared to the bovine tissues. Cloned calves and piglets showed the same level of telomerase activity as their respective donor cells. In addition, no difference in telomerase activity was observed between normal and transgenic cloned piglets. However, increased telomerase activity was observed in porcine SCNT blastocysts compared to nuclear donor cells and in vitro fertilization (IVF)-derived blastocysts, suggesting that the elongation of telomere lengths observed in cloned piglets could be due to the presence of higher telomerase activity in SCNT blastocysts. In conclusion, gathering from the comparative studies with cattle, we were able to demonstrate that telomere length in cloned piglets was rebuilt or elongated with the use of cultured donor fetal fibroblasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular reproduction and development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • SCNT
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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