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Scientists Clone Embryonic Stem Cells From Adult Skin

Scientists have cloned embryonic stem cells from adult skin.

For the first time, United States researchers have cloned embryonic stem cells from their original adult cells, a scientific breakthrough on the road toward aiding physicians in treating other conditions and diseases. Their groundbreaking research was detailed in a recent online edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell. The specific process employed to make the cloned embryos is the very same method once utilized in 1996 to create Dolly the sheep. It’s known as SCNT or somatic cell nuclear transfer.

This research was funded in part by the South Korean government. Robert Lanza, from the Advanced Cell Technology Company from Massachusetts, is the leader of the research team. He stated that the process was used just last year in relation to work on infant skin cells rather than embryonic cells.

embryonic stem cells

Cloning stem cells/Image: DWDE /Alliance

Lanza’s group took cells from a 35-year old man and a 75-year old man which is significantly different. The embryonic stem cells—created by fusing an adult skin cell with an egg cell– were genetically identical to the genetic build of the donor. (In this case, the egg cell was divested of all its “genetic material” leaving it “blank”.)

The research team hopes to eventually be able to change the embryonic stem cells into any other cell present in the human body. This would enable them to reconstruct any part of the body that is damaged or failing. This procedure would become an essential element of regenerative therapy.

Additionally, the researchers note that it could aid in treating a lengthy laundry list of diseases including cancer, heart and liver disease and most likely even Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps one of the most significant advantages to the approach offered by Lanza’s team is that their methods are free of potential political controversy. This process doesn’t use fertilized embryos to obtain stem cells. Using fertilized embryos has long been a technique mired in debate over ethical issues because the embryo is destroyed.

Scientists clone embryonic stem cells from adult skin

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.