Agricultural Applications for ES and EG Cells

The establishment of ES and/or EG cells from a wide variety of species will allow more flexibility in direct genetic manipulation of livestock as well as agricultural, gene-regulation, and developmental biology research. The use of ES cells in mouse developmental biology research is well documented. However, the production of a chimeric livestock species (swine and cattle) produced from ES cells has only recently been reported.[7,8] The use of ES or EG cells for the production of transgenic animals from DNA-transformed, individually derived and screened embryonic cell lines could allow large numbers of genetically identical animals to be established. There are many potential applications of stem cell mediated transgenesis to develop new and improved strains of livestock. Practical applications of stem cell transgenic technology 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 (Fig. 1).

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