Reprogramming of primordial germ cells begins before migration into the genital ridge, making these cells inadequate donors for reproductive cloning

Yukiko Yamazaki, Mellissa R.W. Mann, Susan S. Lee, Joel Marh, John R. McCarrey, Ryuzo Yanagimachi, Marisa S. Bartolomei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations

Abstract

Germ cells undergo epigenetic modifications as they develop, which suggests that they may be ideal donors for nuclear transfer (cloning). In this study, nuclei from confirmed embryonic germ cells were used as donors to determine whether they are competent for cloning and at which stage they are most competent. Embryos cloned from migrating 10.5-days-postcoitum (dpc) primordial germ cells (PGCs) showed normal morphological development to midgestation but died shortly thereafter. In contrast, embryos cloned from later-stage germ cells were developmentally delayed at midgestation. Thus, donor germ cell age inversely correlated with the developmental stage attained by cloned embryos. The methylation status of the H19- and Snrpn-imprinting control regions in germ cell clones paralleled that of the donors, and revealed that demethylation, or erasure of imprints, was already initiated in PGCs at 10.5 dpc and was complete by 13.5 dpc. Similarly, clones derived from male 15.5-dpc germ cells showed increased methylation correlating with the initiation of de novo methylation that resets imprints at this stage, and clones from neonatal germ cells showed nearly complete methylation in the H19 imprinting control region. These results indicate that the epigenetic state of the donor nucleus is retained in cloned embryos, and that germ cells are therefore inadequate nuclear donors for cloning because they are either erasing or resetting epigenetic patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12207-12212
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume100
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 14 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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