Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has provided a powerful tool for creating copies of selected individuals of different species since 1997, when the first mammal cloned from adult somatic cells, the sheep “Dolly”, was born. Feasible SCNT procedures have also been established in pigs. Although SCNT has also been successfully applied to the cloning of several miniature pigs, including potbelly miniature pigs, Clawn miniature pigs, Gottingen pigs, Yucatan minipigs, NIBS strain miniature pigs, National Institutes of Health miniature pigs, Bama miniature pigs and Banna miniature inbred pigs, the widespread application of pig SCNT in biomedical research has been hampered by the low cloning efficiency obtained. The type of nuclear donor cell used is a vitally important factor that influences the outcomes of SCNT.
The Diannan miniature pig is well known as an exclusive native breed that is conserved in Yunnan Province in China. This pig breed has a suitable body weight and genetic diversity. Moreover, it is easy to handle due to its docile character and strong disease-resistant nature as well as its ability to subsist on roughage. The time to sexual maturity of this breed is shorter, and mating can occur when males are three months old and females are four months old. The numbers of piglets per litter in primiparous and multiparous sows are approximately 7 to 10, respectively. These characteristics make the Diannan miniature pig an ideal model for various types of research studies. Thus, clones of these pigs are very important for their further application. However, the cloning process and efficiency in Diannan miniature pigs remain unclear.