Embryonic Stem Cells from Old Man
Let’s hope this story lasts longer than the acid bath stem cells. Scientists from an American company and from South Korea claim to have cloned embryonic stem cells from the skin of an elderly man. Two out of 77 tried–still low efficiency. Full report here, in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
The standard technique, for sheep and other animals, has been to enucleate (remove the nucleus) of an oocyte (egg cell); then insert the nucleus of a skin cell. The skin cell has 2n chromosomes, ready to go. A zap of electricity and other treatments somehow induce the filled egg to divide and multiply. But in the past, for humans–unlike sheep–only DNA from embryo cells could be inserted into egg nuclei to generate “immortal” stem cells. The kind of human stem cells that might someday form replacement organs.
Or replacement people. This technology brings closer the possibility of “cloning” a whole adult person’s body. And apparently, there are no clear laws against it.