Scientists have made an embryonic clone of a person, using DNA from that person's skin cells. In the future, such a clone could be a source of stem cells, for super-personalized therapies made from people's own DNA.
It's unlikely that this clone could develop into a human, say the scientists, a team of biologists from the U.S. and Thailand. The team plans to publish a paper in the future detailing why not, Nature reported. Previously, the team conducted this entire process, including a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer, in monkeys. Those monkey embryo clones always died before they could grow into adult monkeys.
"While nuclear transfer breakthroughs often lead to a public discussion about the ethics of human cloning, this is not our focus, nor do we believe our findings might be used by others to advance the possibility of human reproductive cloning," Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the clone research's lead scientist, said in a statement. Mitalipov is a biologist who studies cells and development at the Oregon Health and Science University.
This is a feat that's been a long time coming. The world even got a bit of a tease of it nearly a decade ago, in 2004 and 2005, when Woo Suk Hwang of Seoul National University said he'd made human clones. It turned out Hwang was lying.
Now, Mitalipov and his team have made clones using the same basic technique that created Dolly the cloned sheep in 1996. The scientists took skin cells' nuclei—the centers of the cells, where the cells keep their DNA—and transplanted them into eggs that had their own genetic material removed. They then grew the eggs for a few days, harvested the daughter cells that appeared, and created a cell line, or a colony of cells that reproduces stably. The stem cells in the cell line could become several different types of adult cells, just like natural stem cells.
In the future, stem cells made in this way will compete with another method of creating personalized stem cells. Researchers previously showed they are able to transform adult skin cells directly into stem cells, with no stop for a transfer into an egg along the way. Such cells are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, and they don't require the creation of embryos.
Want to learn more? Mitalipov and his colleagues published a paper about their work today in the journal Cell. Nature has great reporting on the breakthrough, with a little more scientific nitty-gritty.
This is utterly horrifying. For them to do this like Dolly they had to start with a fertilized egg, remove the undeveloped baby (killing it) then put in the DNA from the skin cell of another person. This brings to mind the German scientist during WW2 and the atrocities they performed.
Why do people always find it necessary to bring up the Nazis? Seriously, it happened over 70 years ago. This is science TODAY. You also fail to mention just how many advances in modern medicine we were given by the Germans. I guess you think that its horrifying though.
Actually something similar has been done. While Hwang lied about what he did, other scientists found it to work partially. Not as well as Hwang claimed.
Human eggs and Human cells worked just as poorly as human cell and rabbit eggs, right down to specific genes. That indicates it isn't this method that is flawed, we are not factoring something important in. Why do human clone embryos fail? Maybe they need to be implanted into a surrogate right away.
Additional Comment, if you think that "killing" a single human cell is tantamount to Nazis killing PEOPLE, it's YOUR misguided moral compass that's horrifying, not the scientists'.
Always defer to facts rather than speculation.
Long life though brain transplant into clones. Yes!
I've always wanted to live long and prosper!
We are machines built by star dust and physics and nothing more! I see nothing wrong with cloning; so long as the said clone never develops awareness and sentience. In that case, it should be treated as a fellow human being!
But the clone would develop a mind of its own. It would be a human being. Maybe not if you lobotomized it at birth.
""""Long life though brain transplant into clones. Yes!
I've always wanted to live long and prosper!
We are machines built by star dust and physics and nothing more! I see nothing wrong with cloning; so long as the said clone never develops awareness and sentience. In that case, it should be treated as a fellow human being!""""
Listen the above scenario you just described, there's actually been a movie made with a similar plot. It was called The Island, a sci-fi film. Anyhow, there are other ways to immortality then what you described. I'd rather just use nanotech to keep the body i have right now alive for eternity!!!! Become superman so to speak, human version 2.0!!!!!!!
The Singularity is Near
Additional Comment, I'm with you on this one. This is horrible news, not great news. They're only killing more and more people for the convenience of others. If we can already produce stem cells from our own skin with a simpler process, then why do this? Maybe they are trying to work towards cloning humans. And Huntmaster555, Just because it's in the past doesn't mean it matters. We're supposed to learn from our past and try not to make the same mistakes that were made. And yes a lot of medical breakthroughs came from the horrible experiments done by the Nazi's, but that doesn't justify what they did.
By wording the science focus correctly on 'stem cells' and belittling they clone a human and disposed of it as useless fodder, a left over byproduct as they attempt to make stem cells, they believe they have gotten around a moral dilemma of cloning humans.
Anyone notice they clone a human and it was later disposed of. You know they made a baby and killed it. But the focus was on stem cell research, so for them no big deal.
I mean everyone read they cloned a human right and later just disposed of it?
A lot of sick people making comments on here. I wish they were logically consistent with their stated worldviews. Then their culture of death would bear itself out clearly and more people would reject it.
In response to the ridiculously melodramatic first comment: No. Just no. Fertilised eggs are NOT used for the process described above (somatic cell nuclear transfer, SCNT). Only an egg cell is required. No sperm. No potential embryos are harmed.
Please check the facts before posting sensationalist comments next time.
All we are, are animals. Nothing more. Human beings have always tried to personify EVERYTHING and frankly I have had enough of it.
I was originally going to post what you just said so kudos to you for seeing the truth.
a dozen cells is not "a baby."
Remember in a vote, you are only given one and calling others idiots does not win more votes for your point of view. If anything, it shows you out of ideas.
Wow! Lots of ignorant people today.
Yes that's right, You are a joke to us.
This is a science website, and people here justifiably mock you.
Your views are childish, illogical nonsense that should be deplored in any civilized forum.
Further more your comments amount to nothing more that trolling and you should in all fairness be banned.
"...Scientists Create First Cloned Human Embryo.
The process that created Dolly the sheep in 1996 has now been proven successful in humans...".
This sentence states clearly the point of it being an identical process of dolly and proven successful for humans.
Dolly the sheep did come to term as a living breathing sheep, YES.
The human enbryo via a scientific choice did not come to term by was exploited for other purposes, then disposed of.
Am I missing anything here, it not just an egg or just a sperm but an actual living embryo.
My first commments are not a lone thought process. Many people are against this type science and the killing of embros.
If you do a Google search for pictures of Dolly the clone sheep you will find many.
Do you understand the logical consequences of what you just said?
Don't hide behind what you falsely call "science" and hypocritically call people illogical. You're worldview necessarily demands that none of us can have logical thought.
Maybe if people actually read the links, they would realize that the procedure involves an unfertilized egg. I know reading is hard, but please try.
Regardless if the egg was fertilized or not it is a living embryo with the possibility of developing into human being. Copy, it's a person.
We're not talking a specific tissue group, we're talking about an embryo. They can naturally clone themselves and give twins. It is a person.
I am aware that Dolly developed to term. The SCNT/implantation process was extremely inefficient though, so the chances of the human cells generated here developing into an actual human upon implantation are likely slim, at best.
My initial comment expressed regret at people mounting a melodramatic response against concepts that weren't even correct. I have no problem with people who find this kind of research controversial, as long as they are finding controversy in what was *actually* done. I can completely understand why people might have a problem with this sort of science, just like I appreciate that controversy exists surrounding abortion. I would implore such people to consider the benefits which may arise as a consequence of experiments such as this.
The benefits for human health are immense. I find it rather strange that people often seem more eager to protect the rights of an undeveloped embryo - which might not actually manage to develop into a human even under the right conditions - than of individuals who suffer daily with crippling diseases that were thrust upon them by chance and would almost certainly benefit from stem cell research.
Hey Bagpipes, I've killed hundreds of millions of "people" almost every day since I was 14....lol. I guess that's why your group frowns upon that action....
Sometime its better to keep things scientific. You might find yourself growing a conscience about eating eggs, or killing cockroaches, if you follow the logic: "Embyonic Stemcells are people".
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth...there is no spoon."
I'm not sure you understand what an embryo is. Either that or you're like a hydra and can reproduce by budding?
I think you fail to understand what science is. Beyond that, I think you could stand to learn a bit about ethics. No, you just take a self contradicting worldview that justifies anything. A worldview which necessarily makes your comments moot. Learn some logic, then we can talk science.
Assuming that a healthy human could be cloned, I fail to understand why that would be immoral, let alone illegal. I asked someone who was a twin if they found the hatred of human cloning to be insulting, and they said yes. A clone would not be any different than having an identical twin, only born much later. The only moral issues I see with making a human clone, would be the responsibility to raise this human being. I think it's a ridiculous notion that human cloning is inherently immoral. Some people objected to artificial insemination, I don't a big difference in these methods of reproduction.
I know a few people have already mentioned this, but they are using non-fertilized eggs for this process. Women get rid of unfertilized eggs naturally each month... Is that considered killing people too? Because by that logic they should have to make a baby out of every single egg. Which is obviously not a very feasible idea.
Stick an adult nucleus into an unfertilized egg, and you now essentially have a fertilized egg. It's how they made Dolly the sheep. It's viable enough. Kill that embryo and it's murder.
How it must piss you religious people off to see science leaving you by the wayside. No matter how much you huff and puff, people stop caring about your bronze-age morality. Science is a field of discourse that is isolated from "opinion", to get in you need actual merit. All you have is "opinion" and so it must really infuriate you that that's simply not worth a red cent in questions of science.
To see you losing your minds over this is hilarious, all the more because I know that it will amount to nothing. Science will progress, you will keep complaining (but still use the fruits of those discoveries when it suits you) and keep being smirked at more and more.
As to the argument itself, which boils down to "an embryo is a person, and embryo has the same rights as a person", you can certainly claim that, but it will lead you down a road you don't want to be on. A fertilized egg or an embryo or even a fetus have the POTENTIAL to develop into a person, given the right circumstances and environment. They can not live on their own, they are dependant in their immediate physiological functions on very specific stimuli and circumstances.
Guess what else could develop into a person, given the right circumstances and environment: practically anything on the planet, certainly sperm cells, even skin cells (as this reseach so obviously shows). If a fertilized egg is a person because of its mere potential to be one, then everytime you scrub off your chest with a loofah under the shower, you are committing genocide.
So, is a biological system with the future potential to develop into a person itself an actual person or not? If it is, I hope for your sake that you don't live in a state with the death penalty...
With acceptance of an embryo as a commodity to be slice and dice and exploit for science moral reduces humanity to a commodity as well.
There is one good declaration of science in developing the sheep embryo to full term and adulthood. While toying around the Dolly embryo, it also proved it IS a fully functioning life form. In this single proof displays we should not toy, exploit human embryos, and make a commodity of embryos, for they are full human life.
This is not religion, but good morals and values human life without measure. Human life is priceless!
The embryos aren't being "exploited for science." Stem cell research is an incredibly valuable source of information concerning real diseases that real humans are really suffering from right at this very moment. Such information will lead to better treatments. Stem cell-derived organs might in future provide accurate disease models for screening of pharmaceutical compounds, reducing the requirement for animal testing and potentially getting new medicines to the people who need them more rapidly. Not to mention the potential applications of stem cell-derived organs in toxicology screens for new pharmaceutical compounds in order to reduce the chances of severe side effects manifesting further down the line in real, living people. Study of embryonic stem cells will further our understanding of developmental biology, which will lead to a better understanding of embryogenesis, potentially leading to currently unavailable treatments for debilitating congenital disorders which would otherwise have an extremely severe impact on the lives of affected individuals (not forgetting the distress caused to the families of such individuals). Scientists don't do work like this simply for 'teh lulz'; there is enormous medical potential here and I think that to deny such potential for the individuals who will most benefit from it in future (which might even include you or me) is unethical.
TL; DR - Work such as this will lead to significant medical breakthroughs in future, therefore it is justified.
As long as there remains ignorant, self-grandised scientist and their sycophant "groupies," with their closed minds, science will NEVER discover the human soul. It's not a matter of religious belief, it's a fact. At least quantum physics is open to searching for this truth.
As benign as this human cloning seems right now IT WILL be abused in the future. No scientist or human rights groups can stop rogue governments or people of nefarious intentions with much wealth to back them from using this technology to their own advantage. At some point this type of cloning will be perfected. This is not a good thing by any stretch.