Healthy ageing of cloned sheep

The health of cloned animals generated by somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been of concern since its inception; however, there are no detailed assessments of late-onset, non-communicable diseases. This manuscript reports that SCNT has no obvious detrimental long-term health effects in a cohort of 13 cloned sheep. Musculoskeletal assessments, metabolic tests and blood pressure measurements were carried out in 13 aged (7–9 years old) cloned sheep, including four derived from the cell line that gave rise to Dolly. The authors also performed radiological examinations of all main joints, including the knees, the joint most affected by osteoarthritis in Dolly, and compared all health parameters to groups of 5-and 6-year-old sheep, and published reference ranges. Despite their advanced age, these clones are euglycaemic, insulin sensitive and normotensive. No clinical signs of degenerative joint disease apart from mild, or in one case moderate, osteoarthritis in some animals were observed.

K.D. Sinclair et al. Nature communications 7, 2016