Taiwan clones world’s 1st spotted miniature pigs


By  Grace Kuo - Taiwan Today



A Taiwan research team with members from National Chung Hsin University, Chung Shan Medical University and Tunghai University in Taichung C ity has cloned two spotted miniature pigs, according to the National Science Council Jan. 30.


The animals were cloned using improved oocyte bisection technology, which is more efficient and less labor intensive than somatic cell nuclear transfer employed in the 1996 cloning of Dolly—the world’s most famous sheep.


An NSC official familiar with the matter said the technology has wide-ranging applications and can easily be taken up in other fields. It comes under the auspices of a three-year, NT$6 million-plus (US$203,390) program initiated by the NSC in 2009, the official added.


Ju Jyh-cherng, an animal science professor at NCHU and head of the team, said the group’s breakthrough shows that pig oocytes of differing qualities can be used to clone animals of high economic value, including those that are transgenic.


“Our work was accomplished using manual procedures and basic instrumentation totaling less than NT$500,000,” he said. “This slashed manpower by two-thirds and cost one-sixth of previous procedures.”