More MS news articles for Dec 2001

French firm clones the world's first rat embryo

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - A French biotechnology firm said on Monday that it had produced the first living cloned rat embryo, paving the way for possible future advances in stem cell therapy.

"We achieved the key milestone of a living cloned rat embryo with no apparent abnormalities," Dr Alexandre Fraichard, chief executive officer of functional genomics firm genOway SA, said in a statement released in London.

"The embryo was found in post mortem examination of the foster mother after 12-1/2 days of development."

Fraichard said all previous attempts to clone rats had failed because the donor nucleus and the recipient egg had not been biologically synchronised.

"These results demonstrate that we have succeeded in developing a technology that allows reprogramming of the rat nucleus," he added.

GenOway, based in Lyon, conducted a joint nuclear transfer programme to produce genetically manipulated rats that can be used in experiments.

Scientists use so-called "knock-in" and "knock-out" rodents--in which selected genes have been turned on or off--to test new approaches to medical treatment. Cloning rats and mice could produce a regular production line of such experimental animals.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited