Nuclear Transfer — It's Like Reprogramming A Computer Without Knowing A Thing About Software

Scientists used a process called Nuclear Transfer to create "Dolly" the cloned sheep, remember her? The story made headlines around the world. That was almost twenty years ago, in 1997. A few years earlier, something that momentous was never thought of as even possible, or was it?

To make Dolly, the nucleus from an adult sheep's mammary cell was transplanted into another egg that first had it own nucleus taken out. Since the cells were from an ewes mammary gland; they named the baby lamb, Dolly, after Dolly Parton, the famous country and western singer with the two big breasts. (later it was discovered Dolly Partons breasts weren't real). 

Neither Dolly the sheep, nor Dolly Parton were the first animals to be twinned successfully, like everyone was made to believe. 

Developmental Mechanics 

Before both Dolly's, back in 1938, a German embryologist, Hans Spemann, a Nobel Prize recipient, published the first nuclear-transplantation experiments, titled "Entwicklungsmechanik" or Developmental mechanics in English, where he experimented successfully on newts, because they are unusually large and easy to manipulate for embryos. He used a human hair plucked from his own daughter's head as a noose to divide the cytoplasm in the salamander egg. The experiment worked, he called it "Twinning." The first animal cloned in a laboratory by nuclear transfer was a newt.

Then in 1952, Robert Biggs and Thomas J. King cloned leopard frogs embryos using the same technics, nuclear transfer, hatched little tadpoles, then John Gurdon a decade later furthered that experiment which eventually turned those little tadpoles into little adult leopard frogs. He received a Nobel Prize for his efforts in 2012, fifty years after the fact.

It is said, when all these pioneers were experimenting on the theory of nuclear-transfer way back then, it would have been like working out today; how to reprogram a computer without knowing a thing about computer software, simply by downloading pieces of code from the Internet. 

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