Susan Young, writing for MIT Technology Review:
Scientists from Oregon Health and Science University reported on Wednesday in the scientific journal Cell that they had created embryonic stem cells from a cloned human embryo. This is the first time that human stem cells have been produced using nuclear transfer, a cloning technique in which the nucleus of one person’s cell is transferred into an egg that has had its nucleus removed. The technique could be used to create patient-specific human embryonic stem cells, which could be used to study genetic diseases, aid drug development, and for therapeutic transplantation back into a patient.
So what’s taken so long?
In the Wednesday report, Shoukhrat Mitalipov and colleagues write that past attempts at creating cloned embryonic stem cells were troubled by developmental arrests in the embryos created by nuclear transfer. According to Nature,the investigators tested and tweaked cloning techniques on “more than 1,000 monkey eggs before moving on to human cells” and finding the right combination of methods.
Learn more about cloning and stem cell research with NOVA.