Success of cloning using adult somatic cells has been reported in sheep1, mice2,3 and cattle4,5,6,7. The report that `Dolly'8 the sheep, the first clone from an adult mammal, inherited shortened telomeres from her cell donor and that her telomeres were further shortened by the brief culture of donor cells has raised serious scientific and public concerns about the `genetic age' and potential developmental problems of cloned animals. This observation was challenged by a recent report9 that showed calves cloned from fetal cells have longer telomeres than their age-matched controls. The question remains whether Dolly's short telomeres were an exception or a general fact, which would differ from the telomeres of fetal-derived clones.
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We thank M. Barber and M. Taneja for cell culture and tissue biopsies, and R. Foote for critical reading of the manuscript. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Connecticut Innovations, Inc.
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The Genetic Architecture of Bovine Telomere Length in Early Life and Association With Animal Fitness
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