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Open Access Methodology

Replication of somatic micronuclei in bovine enucleated oocytes

Natalia Canel, Romina Bevacqua, María Inés Hiriart and Daniel Salamone*

Author Affiliations

Laboratorio Biotecnología Animal, Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453, C1417DSE, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Cell Division 2012, 7:23  doi:10.1186/1747-1028-7-23

Published: 22 November 2012



Microcell-mediated chromosome transfer (MMCT) was developed to introduce a low number of chromosomes into a host cell. We have designed a novel technique combining part of MMCT with somatic cell nuclear transfer, which consists of injecting a somatic micronucleus into an enucleated oocyte, and inducing its cellular machinery to replicate such micronucleus. It would allow the isolation and manipulation of a single or a low number of somatic chromosomes.


Micronuclei from adult bovine fibroblasts were produced by incubation in 0.05 μg/ml demecolcine for 46 h followed by 2 mg/ml mitomycin for 2 h. Cells were finally treated with 10 μg/ml cytochalasin B for 1 h. In vitro matured bovine oocytes were mechanically enucleated and intracytoplasmatically injected with one somatic micronucleus, which had been previously exposed [Micronucleus- injected (+)] or not [Micronucleus- injected (−)] to a transgene (50 ng/μl pCX-EGFP) during 5 min. Enucleated oocytes [Enucleated (+)] and parthenogenetic [Parthenogenetic (+)] controls were injected into the cytoplasm with less than 10 pl of PVP containing 50 ng/μl pCX-EGFP. A non-injected parthenogenetic control [Parthenogenetic (−)] was also included. Two hours after injection, oocytes and reconstituted embryos were activated by incubation in 5 μM ionomycin for 4 min + 1.9 mM 6-DMAP for 3 h. Cleavage stage and egfp expression were evaluated. DNA replication was confirmed by DAPI staining. On day 2, Micronucleus- injected (−), Parthenogenetic (−) and in vitro fertilized (IVF) embryos were karyotyped. Differences among treatments were determined by Fisher′s exact test (p≤0.05).


All the experimental groups underwent the first cell divisions. Interestingly, a low number of Micronucleus-injected embryos showed egfp expression. DAPI staining confirmed replication of micronuclei in most of the evaluated embryos. Karyotype analysis revealed that all Micronucleus-injected embryos had fewer than 15 chromosomes per blastomere (from 1 to 13), while none of the IVF and Parthenogenetic controls showed less than 30 chromosomes per spread.


We have developed a new method to replicate somatic micronuclei, by using the replication machinery of the oocyte. This could be a useful tool for making chromosome transfer, which could be previously targeted for transgenesis.

Micronuclei; Oocyte; Chromosomes; Transgene