The period immediately after birth is a vital time for all newborn calves as the cardiovascular, respiratory, and other organ systems adapt to life ex utero. Reported neonatal mortality rates suggest this period to be especially critical in cloned calves; yet prospective, controlled studies on the physiological status of these calves are lacking. The objectives of this study were to compare neonatal (birth to 48 h of age) physical and clinical characteristics and placental morphology of cloned and embryo transfer control calves delivered by cesarean section after induced labor. All calves were raised under specialized neonatal-care protocols, at a large-animal veterinary research and teaching hospital. Cloned calves were similar to controls for many parameters studied. Notable exceptions included developmental delays of important physical adjustment parameters and enlargement of the umbilical region. Placentas associated with cloned calves contained fewer total placentomes, a twofold increase in surface area and mass per placentome, and a shift in placentome morphology toward larger, flatter placentomes. The most striking clinical variations detected in clones were hypoglycemia and hyperfructosemia, both measures of carbohydrate metabolism. Because the placenta is known to be the source of plasma fructose in newborn calves, increased fructose production by the cloned placenta may be an important factor in the etiology of umbilical and cardiac anomalies in clones observed in this and other studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology