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Cloning could be a boost

March 28, 2004

The possibility of human cloning and other advancements in assisted reproductive technologies have recently captured a niche on the news agenda and focused ethical issues for a national debate. But these same advancements have the capability to significantly boost Virginia's multi-million dollar agricultural animal industry.

In an effort to better organize university expertise and equipment in this area, the Center for Reproductive Excellence Using Advanced Technology and Endocrinology (CREATE) has been established at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

The CREATE Lab serves as an inter-disciplinary educational, research, and clinical resource that is unique throughout the Mid-Atlantic states, according to Dr. Bill Ley, professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, and co-author of the grant which funded the center.

Three distinct generations of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) with fresh or frozen semen, was initially described about six decades ago, according to Ley. The second, embryo transfer (ET), is about four decades old. The third, which includes embryo sexing, oocyte recovery and in vitro fertilization (IVF); gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT); zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT); and inntracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), is less than 20 years old.

The fourth generation of assisted reproductive technologies is now on the horizon and entails embryo cloning, transgenic embryo production, nuclear (DNA) transplantation or transfer, and parthenogenesis (auto-fertilization).



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