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RFD is the official journal of the International Embryo Transfer Society and the Society for Reproductive Biology.


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 19(6)

Embryonic stem cells in companion animals (horses, dogs and cats): present status and future prospects

R. Tayfur Tecirlioglu A B, Alan O. Trounson A

A Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL), Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), Monash University, Clayton, Vic. 3800, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: tayfur.tecirlioglu@adm.monash.edu.au
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Reproductive technologies have made impressive advances since the 1950s owing to the development of new and innovative technologies. Most of these advances were driven largely by commercial opportunities and the potential improvement of farm livestock production and human health. Companion animals live long and healthy lives and the greatest expense for pet owners are services related to veterinary care and healthcare products. The recent development of embryonic stem cell and nuclear transfer technology in primates and mice has enabled the production of individual specific embryonic stem cell lines in a number of species for potential cell-replacement therapy. Stem cell technology is a fast-developing area in companion animals because many of the diseases and musculoskeletal injuries of cats, dogs and horses are similar to those in humans. Nuclear transfer-derived stem cells may also be selected and directed into differentiation pathways leading to the production of specific cell types, tissues and, eventually, even organs for research and transplantaton. Furthermore, investigations into the treatment of inherited or acquired pathologies have been performed mainly in mice. However, mouse models do not always faithfully represent the human disease. Naturally occurring diseases in companion animals can be more ideal as disease models of human genetic and acquired diseases and could help to define the potential therapeutic efficiency and safety of stem cell therapies. In the present review, we focus on the economic implications of companion animals in society, as well as recent biotechnological progress that has been made in horse, dog and cat embryonic stem cell derivation.

Keywords: canine, cloning, equine, feline, interspecies, nuclear transfer, xenogenic.

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