The introduction of foreign DNA into the genome of livestock and its stable integration into the germ line has been a major technical advance in agriculture. Production of transgenic livestock provides a method to rapidly introduce "new" genes into cattle, swine, sheep and goats without crossbreeding. It is a more extreme methodology, but in essence, not really different from crossbreeding or genetic selection in its result. Several recent developments will profoundly impact the use of transgenic technology in livestock production. These developments are: 1) the ability to isolate and maintain in vitro embryonic stem (ES) cells from preimplantation embryos, embryonic germ (EG) and somatic cells from fetuses; and somatic cells from adults, and 2) the ability to use these embryonic and somatic cells as nuclei donors in nuclear transfer or "cloning" strategies. Cell based (ES, EG, and somatic cells) strategies have several distinct advantages for use in the production of transgenic livestock that cannot be attained using pronuclear injection of DNA. There are many potential applications of transgenic methodology to develop new and improved strains of livestock. Practical applications of transgenesis in livestock production include enhanced prolificacy and reproductive performance, increased feed utilization and growth rate, improved carcass composition, improved milk production and/or composition and increased disease resistance. Development of transgenic farm animals will allow more flexibility in direct genetic manipulation of livestock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1369
Number of pages25
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2001


  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Microinjection
  • Nuclear transfer
  • Pigs
  • Transgenics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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