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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Monkeys Cloned From Adult Cells for the First Time



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This story in The Independent could mean that the attempt to clone human embryos--so far pretty much a bust--could get a big boost:
A technical breakthrough has enabled scientists to create for the first time dozens of cloned embryos from adult monkeys, raising the prospect of the same procedure being used to make cloned human embryos. Attempts to clone human embryos for research have been dogged by technical problems and controversies over fraudulent research and questionable ethics. But the new technique promises to revolutionise the efficiency by which scientists can turn human eggs into cloned embryos...

The scientists will also demonstrate that they have been able to extract stem cells from some of the cloned embryos and that they have managed to encourage these embryonic cells to develop in the laboratory into mature heart cells and brain neurons.

This could not only mean an increase in the ability to clone human embryos for use and destruction in research, but might make the day of the first cloned baby nearer:

The scientists who carried out the latest primate work are believed to have tried to implant about 100 cloned embryos into the wombs of around 50 surrogate rhesus macaque mothers but have not yet succeeded with the birth of any cloned offspring.

However, one senior scientist involved in the study said that this may simply be down to bad luck--it took 277 attempts, for instance, to create Dolly the sheep, the first clone of an adult mammal.

Note that unlike newspapers here such as the Kansas City Star, The Independent honestly calls an embryo an embryo. It also specifically points out that a "blastocyst" is an embryo (it is the scientific name of the embryo at a certain stage of development) despite our own Big Biotech's pretending that it is somehow not that at all--and the MSM's running with that ball regardless of the biological truth.
Professor Don Wolf, who led the laboratory at the Oregon National Primate Research Centre before his recent retirement, said the new procedure was based on a microscopic technique that does not use ultraviolet light and dyes, which appear to damage primate eggs..."We could now produce cloned blastocysts [embryos] in the monkey at a reasonable frequency, at least a frequency that would allow us ...to study the cloned blastocyst ," Professor Wolf said.
Human cloning may or may not work. Also, while there is an abundance of monkey eggs to be had, human eggs remain a rare commodity. But there is no question that this primate breakthrough makes the specter of human cloning closer to fruition.


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