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Stem cells created from cloned monkey cells, Therapeutic cloning just a step away


Source: | 06-21-2007 15:57

Ampoules containing a medium for stem cell storage are displayed at the UK Stem Cell Bank in north London in this May 19, 2004 file photo. Human therapeutic cloning has moved a step closer after U.S. researchers said they had successfully created embryonic stem cells from monkey embryos. REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid

In what would be a world first, US researchers say they have successfully created two batches of embryonic stem cells from cloned rhesus monkey embryos. Scientists made the announcement at a stem cell research conference in Cairns, Australia, this week. If confirmed, it will be one step closer to human therapeutic cloning.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon National Primate Research Center in the US said he had succeeded using modified Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, or SCNT. It is a process in which an egg cell nucleus is removed and replaced with a donor nucleus.

The cell eventually forms an early embryo, or blastocyst with DNA almost identical to the donor organism.

Mitalipov said he used skin cells from a ten-year-old male rhesus monkey. He presented the conference with proof of his success using DNA evidence. He also showed slides of the embryonic cells changing into heart cells and neurons.