Scientists have succeeded in cloning a rat named Ralph BBC - September 2003
The researchers from China and France say they managed to create several rodent copies - both male and female. The rat joins a lengthening list of animals that have been cloned from an adult cell. These include sheep, mice, cattle, goats, pigs, cats, mules and horses. The rat has come later than the others because of unique difficulties in controlling the development of its eggs in the early stages of the cloning process. Rat eggs activate almost immediately they leave the ovaries, making it difficult to introduce the genetic material of the animal to be copied. In a paper published online by the journal Science, Qi Zhou and colleagues describe how the use of a chemical at a key moment can stabilize the eggs, so leading to successful embryos that will implant in a surrogate mother.
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