Ohio University's Edison Animal Biotechnology Center hassigned a $300,000 two-year research contract with StolleResearch and Development Corp. to improve dairy and beefherds by duplicating in host embryos the genetic informationof superior cattle.

Edison will research the best ways to apply an embryonic stemcell duplication process to cattle. Stem cells are early-stage,undifferentiated cells. Edison, which has applied for a patent onthe process, has used it extensively in mice, said John Jarvis,center director. This will be the first time the center will workwith cattle.

Stolle, based in Cincinnati, will mate selected bulls and cowsand give Edison up to 10 embryos derived from that mating.Edison will establish an embryonic stem cell culture from theembryos. That process destroys the embryos, but unlimitednumbers of stem cells can be derived from it. Individual stemcells can then be placed into bovine eggs and brought to term.

Edison, based in Athens, will receive a percentage of the saleprice of each calf produced using the process.

American Breeders Service of DeForest, Wis., recently receiveda patent on another process for breeding cattle that involvesmaking multiple copies of bovine embryos by the transfer ofnuclei from bovine eggs.

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