23 October 2011

Human Embryo Cloned for Stem Cell Production

On October 5, the science journal Nature published a study where scientists have successfully cloned a human embryo.

Although the experiment was a success, the clone had too much DNA material (it had enough material for 2 persons) for it to function properly.

The study states:
It is not the end-all experiment that scientists aiming to create embryonic stem cells have been hoping for — the embryos are not true clones, because the DNA of the stem-cell line does not match that of the patient who donated cells — but it is a step in that direction and addresses some of the problems that have flummoxed experiments.
Source: Nature

What's special about the study is that an embryo can continually produce embryonic stem cells without any complications from existing laws that regulate the procurement of these. As of now, there are no currently approved treatment using embryonic stem cells.

Cloning a human embryo opens up the possibility of cloning personalized stem cells that can help in curing the affected person. As stated in the study, this part of the experiment is still not attainable. On the other hand, this also leads to a scenario where human beings can be cloned.

Video: Human stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and stem cell research

Research into this technology gives hope in the various treatments such as neurological paralysis, diabetes, cancer, and even age rejuvenation. There are even beauty products that claim it is based on stem cell technology.

Embryonic stem cells can be used to transform it to any human cell type under lab conditions. As such, it has great potential to repair and even replace diseased cells in organs and tissues. It may even help in its regeneration.


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