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Stormbringer
October 5th, 2011, 01:31 PM
Genetic material was taken from an adult skin cell and transferred into a human egg. This was grown to produce an early embryo.
Stem cells have huge potential in medicine as they can transform into any other cell type in the body.


However, the stem cells formed contained chromosomes from both the adult and the egg cells.


The technique used - somatic cell nuclear transfer - shot to fame in 1997 when Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, was unveiled to the world.


A South Korean scientist, Hwang Woo-suk, had claimed to have created stem cells from cloned human embryos, but was found to have faked the evidence (http://www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4608352.stm).


The lead researcher at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory, Dr Dieter Egli, said there was "a great question mark" about whether the cloning technique could be reliably used in humans.


He said other "groups had tried before, but failed".
Writing in the journal Nature, he said his group had also failed using traditional techniques.


When they removed the genetic material from the egg and replaced it with the chromosomes from a skin cell, the egg divided but failed to go past the 6-12 cell stage.


However, when they left the egg's own genetic material in place and added the skin chromosomes, the egg developed. It reached the blastocyst stage, which can contain up to 100 cells and is the usual source of embryonic stem cells.




http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/55847000/gif/_55847446_stem_cells_464.gif
From what it seems, this is a startling procedure that could legitimately clone human embryo's, as well as provide a viable source of stem cells.


Thoughts and discuss.

Mario The World Champion
October 5th, 2011, 02:16 PM
While this is great news for people who are advocating using stem cells to cure major diseases that can't be cured, you know the pro-life advocates and Church organizations will damn this as an act against God.

As the old saying goes, you got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.

marz
October 5th, 2011, 02:54 PM
While this is great news for people who are advocating using stem cells to cure major diseases that can't be cured, you know the pro-life advocates and Church organizations will damn this as an act against God.

As the old saying goes, you got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.

Stems cells don't only have to come from unborn human embryos. There are adult stem cells which are found in your body right now. Their function is to maintain and repair the tissue where they are. Further, there are also amniotic stem cells which aren't so much in the embryo as in the fluid which contains the embryo, while in utero. However, yeah, embryonic stem cells are the most flexible and ideal for any research we would like to do.

I think stem cells have immense potential and I truly don't see any reason to stand in the way of progress. By saving an embryo, you're saving a life. Sure. But by not doing stem cell research, you are losing millions of lives to fatal diseases that could actually be cured by stem cells.

In 2006, 61.2 out of 1,000 American women aged 15 to 19 had an abortion. If even a fraction of those abortions went towards stem cell research, we could be making some incredible scientific advances, the likes of which the world has never seen. I don't even think this is a question.

To stay on topic though, I don't think stem cells should be used for cloning. The earth's population is big enough as it is, and people definitely have no problems procreating. Stem cells shouldn't be geared towards cloning but rather curing diseases.

Esper
October 6th, 2011, 08:52 AM
I might be a little rusty on my biology, but if you take the genetics of Person A and add them to the egg of Person B without removing Person B's own nucleus aren't you left with two people's genetics rather than just one and wouldn't that not be cloning? It almost looks like a fancy way of substituting skins cells for sperm. I'm not really sure how that changes anything in a meaningful way.

Stormbringer
October 6th, 2011, 09:04 AM
I might be a little rusty on my biology, but if you take the genetics of Person A and add them to the egg of Person B without removing Person B's own nucleus aren't you left with two people's genetics rather than just one and wouldn't that not be cloning? It almost looks like a fancy way of substituting skins cells for sperm. I'm not really sure how that changes anything in a meaningful way.

From what I understood, it seems like this procedure basically makes a person their own personal stem cells/clone used for stem cells, as it will only have one set of DNA - theirs. Something like that.

FreakyLocz14
October 6th, 2011, 10:21 AM
This raises serious ethical concerns for me. Even if it is a clone, it's still a human being.

Stormbringer
October 6th, 2011, 10:23 AM
This raises serious ethical concerns for me. Even if it is a clone, it's still a human being.

It's not a human being. It's not even a zygote. It's simply genetic material at this point. So there is no ethical issue.

the egg divided but failed to go past the 6-12 cell stage.
6-12 individual cells, out of trillions. That's a wad of tissue. Nothing more.

FreakyLocz14
October 6th, 2011, 10:26 AM
It's not a human being. It's not even a fertilized egg yet, it's simply genetic material at this point. So there is no ethical issue.


The article states that an embryo was produced, which means it has developed into a human being.

Stormbringer
October 6th, 2011, 10:36 AM
The article states that an embryo was produced, which means it has developed into a human being.

You can't make a human being, let alone a primitive embryo, with one set of DNA, that's why it only grew to such a primitive stage. And wrong, the article said it created an 'early embryo' which in this case, is the clump of 6-12 cells. Which is just that, a clump of cells.

FreakyLocz14
October 6th, 2011, 10:52 AM
You can't make a human being, let alone a primitive embryo, with one set of DNA, that's why it only grew to such a primitive stage. And wrong, the article said it created an 'early embryo' which in this case, is the clump of 6-12 cells. Which is just that, a clump of cells.

So it couldn't develop into a human being if it were left alone? I really don't understand cloning.

Stormbringer
October 6th, 2011, 11:02 AM
So it couldn't develop into a human being if it were left alone? I really don't understand cloning.

Correct. It lacks genetic material from a male, so it has no Y chromosomes and only half the DNA. The scientists here used skin cells, not sperm.

Basically, the only thing that this lump of cells can become is just that, stem cells for your own usage, because it only has your DNA and genetic code. You're growing your own cure here.

Esper
October 6th, 2011, 12:02 PM
Correct. It lacks genetic material from a male, so it has no Y chromosomes and only half the DNA. The scientists here used skin cells, not sperm.

Basically, the only thing that this lump of cells can become is just that, stem cells for your own usage, because it only has your DNA and genetic code. You're growing your own cure here.
I'm still lost on what that egg cell nucleus is doing there. Can you only do this if you use your own eggs or what? Anyway.

It's a good step forward, I suppose, because stem cells seem to give a lot of hope for new medical breakthroughs and cures and all that. Good on them for the accomplishment. Cloning (or "cloning" - I'm not sure if that's what's actually happening) of humans is a little unsettling because we don't really need to except for these very small-scale things for medical purposes. I hope they don't start pursuing full-people cloning.

dinosaurodon
October 7th, 2011, 02:53 PM
Now it's embryonic stem cells, next thing you know the're going to make a clone army...

Stormbringer
October 8th, 2011, 09:42 PM
I'm still lost on what that egg cell nucleus is doing there. Can you only do this if you use your own eggs or what? Anyway.

It's a good step forward, I suppose, because stem cells seem to give a lot of hope for new medical breakthroughs and cures and all that. Good on them for the accomplishment. Cloning (or "cloning" - I'm not sure if that's what's actually happening) of humans is a little unsettling because we don't really need to except for these very small-scale things for medical purposes. I hope they don't start pursuing full-people cloning.

I think the eggs had their genetic material removed, if that makes sense. Down to basic cellular structure, then they effectively 'customize' it with the patient's genetic material. The whole process seems ridiculously convoluted the more I think about it.

DarkAlucard
October 8th, 2011, 10:26 PM
If cells are used for what they were designer and research, go ahead.
Unfortunately human being tends to transform all great inventions, in a weapon or a way to destroy.

Kura
October 8th, 2011, 11:08 PM
*___* This is so interesting!! <33 I am excited for further research!

littlebrother
October 9th, 2011, 05:40 PM
Are these really stem cells though, or skin cells? From what I remember in Biology class, specialized cells like skin cells have specific chromosomes, not the complete chromosomes that stem cells have.. Maybe I'm just confused/forgetful?

Stormbringer
October 9th, 2011, 09:35 PM
Are these really stem cells though, or skin cells? From what I remember in Biology class, specialized cells like skin cells have specific chromosomes, not the complete chromosomes that stem cells have.. Maybe I'm just confused/forgetful?

They're stem cells. You can get stem cells from any cell in the human body, there's just a convoluted extraction process. The new hip procedure in Europe these days involves extraction of stem cells from bone marrow.

littlebrother
October 9th, 2011, 10:21 PM
They're stem cells. You can get stem cells from any cell in the human body, there's just a convoluted extraction process. The new hip procedure in Europe these days involves extraction of stem cells from bone marrow.

It just seems weird that they used genetic information from skin cells and were able to make embryonic stem cells... I guess they found a way to modify the information to match the 23 chromosome count of regular sperm cells to make the necessary embryonic stem cells, cause otherwise the created cells aren't going to be exactly the same as embryonic stem cells and wouldn't work the same, at least in concept.