A new study published in the journal Biology of Reproduction reveals that a team of Japanese researchers has managed to clone a mouse from a single drop of blood collected from the donor mouse's tail.
Researchers at Riken BioResource Center made use of a technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) in which there is no need for egg fertilization as it extracts the nucleus of an animal's cell and that of an egg cell, where the genetic information is stored. The nucleus is then inserted into the egg cell which is then stimulated with a shock, leading to the start of cell division.
While SCNT cloning is usually highly invasive, often resulting in one of the donors being euthanized, researchers in this study drew just 10-15 μl of blood from a mouse's tail and extracted the nuclei from the white blood cells collected from that sample.
The researchers found that while the birth rate was very low (less than 2 percent), a fertile mouse was able to live up to 23 months, which is a typical lifespan of a laboratory mouse. The researchers said that this method could allow cloning of even endangered animals as there is no need for the donor animal to be euthanized.