The Independent has broken the story that has been the talk of the stem-cell research world for several months now. A major breakthrough in primate cloning at the Oregon National Primate Research Center: scientists have successfully cloned a male rhesus macaque monkey, and have derived embryonic stem cells from the resulting embryo. It is a very important step on the way to human cloning, and unlike the fraudulent Korean work of several years ago, this time it’s very well documented and seems to be the real deal. The team, led by Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, has carefully repeated and documented their work, producing more than 20 cloned embryos, and has let a wide range of experts and fellow researchers examine it. They’ve also done a good bit of PR preparation over the past few months, trying to head off overreaction from all quarters.
The paper will be published in Nature in the next few weeks. Expect a bit of confusion among the political advocates of embryonic stem cell research in Washington: do they celebrate this as a breakthrough, or do they insist human cloning is not what they’re after?
It is. And it looks to be coming.