Texas A&M University researchers have cloned a litter of pigs, which makes A&M the first academic institution worldwide to successfully clone cattle, goats and pigs.

The first of five litters was born on Aug. 12. "Five piglets are healthy and growing quickly," says Jorge Piedrahita, lead researcher on the projects. The pig-cloning project is a collaboration involving scientists from the Center for Animal Biotechnology and Genomics. This group includes researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, The Health Sciences Center, and the George Bush School of Public Policy.

In November 2000, a research team cloned what is believed to be the first animal cloned for disease resistance. The 10-month-old Angus calf, named "86 Squared," was cloned using cells that were frozen for 15 years, the longest time that genetic material has been cryo-preserved, thawed and successfully used in cloning. The calf was born three years after the death of his genetic donor.

"With each successful cloned species, we learn more about cloning procedures and how to make cloning more effective. The potential benefits to the livestock industry and medical science could be immense," says James Womack, CABG director.

Texas A&M University Press Release