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Dear Thanemozhi,

I read about cloning lately. It proves that to clone an animal you need A LIVING CELL with its LIVING NUCLEUS. So, no matter what kind of tissue you have, it's not possible to do any cloning if that tissue is dead (like fur or teeth or skin). I need to acknowledge this. So, do you, as an expert, say "yes" to that? (I hope I reached the right expert.)

Thanks for an answer...

Dear Artur,

I will start answering your question by first describing problems encountered when cloning with nuclei from live cells/tissues.

Cloning with nuclei from living cells has a better chance of success. Many reasons include obtaining a nuclei with intact membrane which wont rupture during injection. Even with living cells, the chance of successfully cloning an organism is tricky. This is because, cells from differentiated tissues have certain genes turned off. Only genes required for functioning of the tissue of origin are turned on. If such a nuclei is cloned, then all genes required for a complete embryonic development may not be turned on and the experiment will be a failure. But if you used a totipotent stem cell which may be expected to have all genes required for embryonic development in an active state, the experiment is likely to succeed. Even then, the organism may not be viable for a long period of time.

When it comes to using nuclei from dead tissue, one of the concerns is that the nuclei may not be in a good condition and may get damaged during the injection process. This will of course lead to failure. Not only should the nuclei be intact, the whole repertoire of developmental genes must also be intact, "fit", and active. The absence of any of these will lead to failure of the experiment. The chance of finding a competent cell in a dead tissue is very less, unless preserved excellently.

That said, it is not impossible to clone from dead cell. Scientists have cloned a rat using cells from tissue of dead rat. It is just that the chances are slim.



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Thanemozhi Natarajan


Answers in Genetics, genomics, cytogenetics of syndromes, congenital anomalies, cancer, clinical genomics and interpretation of omics data.


More than 10 years. Doctoral research thesis on Congenital anomalies and cytogenetics, Recurrent reproductive failure and chromosomal abnormalities. Postdoctoral experience in Breast cancer research. Current: Clinical Genomics and Pharmacogenomics.


Cancer Cell International, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Breast cancer research and treatment, Indian Journal of Pediatrics, BMC Proceedings, Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, Human Molecular Genetics, Frontiers in Genetics, Cancer Biomarkers.

PhD Biomedical Genetics

Awards and Honors
University Grants Commission Award for pursuing PhD level research (India); Travel awards to attend conferences.

Past/Present Clients
Post doctoral experience Cancer research, molecular epidemiology Current: Clininical Genomics and Pharmacogenomics

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