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UK scientists clone human embryo

British scientists say they have cloned the country's first human embryo.

The Newcastle University team took eggs from 11 women, removed the genetic material and replaced it with DNA from embryonic stem cells.

The aim of this kind of work - the subject of fierce debate - is to make cloned embryos from which stem cells can be used to treat diseases.

Meanwhile South Korean scientists say they have created stem cells to match individuals for the first time.



Stem cell lines were created by taking genetic material from the patient and putting it into a donated egg.

The resultant cells were a perfect match for the individual and could mean treatments for diseases like diabetes without problems of rejection.

Therapeutic cloning - believed to have huge potential to treat disease and disability - is allowed in Britain.

Reproductive cloning - the cloning of human embryos with the intention of creating a baby - was made illegal in 2001.

We are talking about several years before we are talking about a cell-based therapy that can go back into the patient

Professor Alison Murdoch

Patient-specific stem cell first

Q&A: Stem cells

The UN recently voted in favour of a ban on all human cloning, but this was non-binding which means the UK can continue to do therapeutic cloning.

The use of embryonic stem cells is controversial, with opponents arguing that all embryos, whether created in the lab or not, have the potential to go on to become a fully fledged human. Others fear there are safety concerns.

Supporters of cloning say it could offer numerous benefits in the future, such as fighting disease, battling infertility or preserving endangered species.

'Unsafe and inefficient'

Dr Miodrag Stojkovic

Dr Stojkovic: "There is a long way to go"

Criticising the Newcastle research, Julia Millington from the ProLife Alliance said cloning for research purposes was profoundly unethical.

Josephine Quintavalle from CORE said: "No matter how it is created, a human embryo's destiny should be to live and not to be turned into human stem cells."

Life said cloning was "unsafe and inefficient", and involved exposing women to dangerous fertility drugs in order to collect sufficient eggs.


Stem cells are master cells, obtained from early-stage human embryos, with potential to develop into any of the body's tissue types

There are different types, but scientists believe the most useful stem cells come from the tissue of embryos

The copy pre-embryo created for therapeutic cloning is destroyed in the process

Head-to-head: Patients' views

Stem cell therapy warning

In the Newcastle research, three of the resultant clones lived and grew in the laboratory for three days and one survived for five days.

The critical factor for success appeared to be how quickly the egg was collected and manipulated, Professor Alison Murdoch and colleagues found.

The clone that lasted for five days had been collected and manipulated within 15 minutes.

Other tissues

Stem cells have the ability to develop into virtually any tissue in the body and could, in theory, be used to replace damaged cells in conditions such as Parkinson's disease and diabetes.


Human cloning is essentially inevitable, and we would do well to embrace its great prospects

Robert Yang, California, USA

Send us your comments

But Professor Murdoch said this was still a long way off.

"We are talking about several years before we are talking about a cell-based therapy that can go back into the patient," she said.

Colleague Dr Miodrag Stojkovic said: "I'm really happy but I know that this is just the beginning of a long journey so we have to continue to try to derive stem cells that will definitely help us one day to cure diseases."

The UK research is published in Reproductive and BioMedicine Online.

wow! those scientist gone real mad.. if that's true, then everybody is in danger.. probably its just speculation.. there's a lot organization who are againts human cloning will be ending up rallying and demonstrating in streets to oppose massive human reproduction... technologically speaking, that is possible..
Really!? wow!.. I guess "The Future is now"... im not saying im into Human Cloning or againts it.. You know, i can't really see the real aim of these bright scientists, too early to take side... again.. the real issue here is how world leaders will treat this if its finally done.. Exclamation
Now you can have 2 rendez vous in the same time Very Happy

Cloning just always struck the wrong cord with me.

I am a religious man to be sure, but that is not even it.

I mean, a person grown especially for spare parts?

Seems a little too much like a Vincent Price movie to me.
WickedGravity wrote:
I mean, a person grown especially for spare parts?

From what I heard from various sources, it seemed more like they are not growing a person, but only picking out the desired tissues from the pre-foetal stages to be cultured (stem cells are famous).

while it can be argued that the source of these tissues could have grown into a normal person if given the opportunity, the same can be said of the male & female gametes.
millions of those are wasted regularly, right ? and that too with nobody giving so much as a second thought about the person that they could have become.

in the end, it just depends on how you chose to interpret it.

p.s. - I never mean to hurt anybody's feelings (religious or otherwise). If you feel I'm doing that, please ignore my post.
No offense taken at all, i think I mostly just read the original post wrong and the ignorance is on my part.

As long we don't hae Matrixesque Part Farms spewing out arms and kidneys, I suppose I am ok with all of it.
WickedGravity wrote:
As long we don't hae Matrixesque Part Farms spewing out arms and kidneys, I suppose I am ok with all of it.

well actually to call it that wouldn't be totally wrong either.

Only difference between the "farms" of "The Matrix" and this kind of cloning would be that there full grown human beings were plugged into a biological generator (If I correctly understood that vastly confusing movie) to tap their neural electricity, and here a embryo, capable of becoming a full grown human, is artificially "created" for it's certain tissues (and yes, it could be kidneys and maybe even arms).

but then if the killing of an embryo just because it'll be a "burden" to the parent (as in abortion) is legal and justfied, I think this is much more reasonable.
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