A clone can be defined as a set of genetically identical animals. Small clones of two or occasionally up to four identical animals can be obtained by embryo splitting or blastomere separation. Embryo cloning by nuclear transfer involves the transfer of genetic material from a donor cell (karyoplast) to the cytoplasm of an oocyte or zygote from which the genetic material has been removed (cytoplast). In farm animals, metaphase II oocytes are most widely used as cytoplasts. There are now many factors known to influence the efficiency of embryo cloning by nuclear transfer. These include stage of development and cell cycle of donor cells, the choice of the recipient cell, the methods for activation of oocytes, the cell cycle coordination between donor cell and recipient cytoplast, and the method for fusion between nuclear donor and recipient cytoplast. Recent progress in cloning embryos and animals from cultured cells of embryonic, fetal, or adult origin offers a wide spectrum of potential applications of nuclear transfer, such as the unlimited multiplication of elite embryos or animals from selected matings and the potential for precise genetic modification of farm animals for gene farming or xenotransplantation. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.