For the first time ever, scientists have created cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells from a mouse's tail. Usually, clones are produced from cells frozen in liquid nitrogen. Even though freeze-drying killed the cells, the researchers were still able to produce the clones by inserting the dead skin cells into fresh mouse eggs.
"If these cells can be preserved without liquid nitrogen using freeze-drying technology, it allows genetic resources from around the world to be stored cheaply and safely," University of Yamanashi lead researcher Teruhiko Wakayama said. "Developing countries will be able to store their own valuable genetic resources in their own countries. Also, even in endangered species where only males survive, this technology can be used to create females to revive the species."
The first mouse clone they produced (the black mouse in the photo above) is named Dorami, after a Manga character.
From The Guardian:
Despite the achievement, the process is inefficient – freeze drying damaged DNA in the skin cells – and the success rate for creating healthy female and male mouse pups was only 0.2 to 5.4%. In some of the cells, the Y chromosome was lost, leading to female mice being born from cells obtained from male animals.
"If the same treatment could be performed in endangered species where only males survived, it would be possible to produce females and naturally preserve the species, the authors write in Nature Communications.