Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Researchers make stem cells from skin
By Clive Cookson in London and Rebecca Knight in Boston
Published: June 6 2007
June 6 2007

Three scientific teams published separate studies on Wednesday showing that embryonic stem cells can be made by reprogramming some of the genes in adult skin cells, without having to create an embryo – at least in mice.

Separately, a fourth scientific paper showed that newly fertilised eggs could be used instead of unfertilised eggs to produce cloned mice. If this technique were extended to humans, it might open up a new source of stem cells for therapeutic cloning research: frozen ­early-stage human embryos, which are much more plentiful than human eggs.

The animal research, carried out in the US and Japan and published in the journal Nature, will encourage opponents of human embryo experiments. But the scientists involved in the studies said it was far too early to tell whether the same procedures would work with adult human cells, let alone whet­her it would be safe to use clinically to treat disease.
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