October 5, 2011
U.S. scientists for the first time have used a cloning technique to get tailor-made embryonic stem cells to grow in unfertilised human egg cells, a landmark finding and a potential new flashpoint for opponents of stem cell research.
The researchers were trying to prove it is possible to use a cloning technology called somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT, to make embryonic stem cells that match a patient’s DNA.
The achievement, published today in the journal Nature, is significant because such patient-specific cells potentially can be transplanted to replace damaged cells in people with diabetes and other diseases without rejection by the immune system.
This technique could ignite new controversy because some opponents consider it to be cloning, which they fiercely oppose.