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A Timeline of the Evolution of Animal Breeding

The world's first cloned sheep, Dolly, with two of her lambs.

Want to know more about the history of animal cloning? Here is a timeline of milestones in the science and production of cloned livestock.

1322
Arab chieftains first use artificial insemination to produce superior horses.

1663
Hooke discovers the existence of the cell.

1677
Leeuwenhoek sees spermatozoa through a microscope.

1780
Spallanzani discovers that a dog could be impregnated with the cellular portion of semen and that spermatozoa could be inactivated by cooling and then reactivated later.

1863
Mendel, in his study of peas, discovers that traits are transmitted from parents to progeny by discrete, independent units, later called genes. His observations lay the groundwork for the field of genetics.

1869
Miescher discovers DNA in the sperm of trout.

1891
Walter Heap performs the first successful Embryo Transfer in England with rabbits.

1894
Hans Dreisch creates the first cloned animals by blastomere transfer. He isolates blastomeres from 2- and 4-cell sea urchin embryos and observes their development into small larvae.

1900
The Russian throne hires Ivanoff to develop Artificial Insemination (AI) for horses.

1902
Hans Spemman uses a hair from his infant son as a knife to separate a 2-celled embryo from a salamander, which grows externally, and later a 16-celled embryo, all of which develop into adult salamanders.

1903
U.S. Department of Agriculture employee Herbert Webber coins the word "clon" (which evolves into "clone") to refer to "any group of cells or organisms produced asexually from a single sexually produced ancestor."

1928
Spemann performs the first nuclear transfer procedure using salamander embryos.

1937
First commercial use of Artificial Insemination by E.J. Perry.

1938
Spemann proposes a "fantastical experiment" to clone adult somatic cells by nuclear transfer, but cannot perform the experiment because he lacks the necessary technology.

1944
DNA is proven to carry genetic information by Avery.

1950
Artificial insemination of livestock using frozen semen (a longtime dream of farmers) is successfully accomplished.

1952
Briggs and King use nuclear transfer of adult donor cells to clone frogs.

1953
Nature publishes James Watson's and Francis Crick's manuscript describing the double helical structure of DNA, which marks the beginning of the modern era of genetics.

1953
First report of cloning by nuclear transfer seen in newts.

1959
M.C. Chang reports the first unequivocal case of a live birth following egg fertilization in the lab, true in vitro fertilization, and subsequent embryo transfer, to the uterus.

1963
In China, embryologist Tong Dizhou clones a fish.

1972
First report of successful freezing of embryos. Mice embryos survive being frozen to minus 196 and 269 degrees Celsius.

1977
Somatic cell nuclear transfer used to produce cloned frogs.

1979
A sheep is cloned by embryo splitting.

1983
First mammal produced by embryonic nuclear transfer.

1984
Creation of sheep "identical twins" by embryo splitting.

1986
First report of embryonic cell nuclear transfer in an agricultural species (sheep).

1987
Embryonic cell nuclear transfer in cattle.

1989
Sheep and cow embryos cloned, thus pointing out that existing reproductive technology would open the way for large scale cloning in livestock.

1993
Repeated cycles (multiple generations) of nuclear transfer procedures used to produce a large number of identical animals.

1996
First report of a mammal cloned from an embryo-derived cell culture. All prior nuclear transfer had used cells from embryos rather than from cell lines established from embryos. This made it possible to easily clone an unlimited number of animals from a single embryo.

1996
The Roslin Institute in Scotland produces a sheep, Dolly, the first mammal cloned from a cell of an adult animal.

1997
Infigen, Inc. produces Gene, the first cloned cow, from a fetal cell.

1998
Genzyme Transgenic Corporation and Tufts University produce Mira, the first goat cloned from an embryonic cell.

University of Hawaii clones three generations of mice from nuclei of adult ovarian cumulus cells.

Noto and Kaga, the first cows cloned from adult cells, are produced by the Ishikawa Prefectural Livestock Research Center.

2000
The University of Teramo in Italy clones the first mouflon, a rare type of sheep, from an adult cell.

Researchers at PPL Therapeutics produce Millie, Christa, Alexis, Carrel, and Dotcom, the first pigs cloned from adult cells.

2001
Noah, a gaur and the first of an endangered species to be cloned, is produced by Advanced Cell Technologies.

CC, the first female cat cloned and the first clone of a domestic animal, is produced by Genetic Savings & Clone.

University of Georgia and Prolinia clone a cow from a kidney cell drawn from a carcass.

2002
National Academies of Science releases Animal Biotechnology: Science Based Concerns (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309084393/html).

2003
FDA issues the draft executive summary of its Assessment of Safety of Animal Cloning. (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2003/NEW00968.html).

Trans Ova Genetics and Advanced Cell Technologies produce the first bantengs (an endangered species) cloned from adult cells.

Ditteaux, the first African wildcat cloned from an adult cell, is produced by the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species.

Dewey, the first deer cloned from an adult cell, is produced by ViaGen and Texas A&M shortly before Christmas.

Idaho Gem, the first mule cloned from a mule fetus, is produced by the University of Idaho.

2004
National Academies of Science releases Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects and concludes that food produced from clones and their offspring are safe for human consumption (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309092094/html).

Tabouli and Baba Ganoush are the first cats cloned using chromatin transfer technology (CT).

2005
ViaGen, Inc. clones three calves from rare Prime Yield Grade 1 and 2 beef carcasses.

Snuppy, the first clone of a dog, is produced at Seoul National University in South Korea.

Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species naturally breeds unrelated African wildcat clones, which then gave birth to the first offspring of unrelated clones of a wild species.

2006
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued three documents on the safety of animal cloning -- a draft risk assessment; a proposed risk management plan; and a draft guidance for industry.

  • The US FDA and animal cloning: Risk and regulatory approach. October 2006
  • A Risk-Based Approach to Evaluate Animal Clones and Their Progeny - DRAFT. 2006-2007.
  • US Food and Drug Administration. 2003. Animal Cloning: A Risk Assessment.    

2007
The International Embryo Transfer Society hosted a symposium, “Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Food Safety in Farm Animals,” in Kyoto, Japan.  Presenters from seven countries presented data in agreement with the FDA’s Draft Risk Assessment.