UK experts hail cloning breakthrough
Cloning experts in Britain have welcomed news that an American research team has cloned dozens of embryos from adult monkeys in a breakthrough that could lead to the efficient creation of cloned human embryos for research.
Scientists in the US said they had produced dozens of cloned embryos from a 10-year-old adult macaque monkey using a new technique that avoids damaging the egg cells. They also said they had extracted stem cells from some of the embryos and grown them in the test tube into the specialised cells of the nervous system and the heart.
Sir John Gurdon, of Cambridge University, who was the first scientist to clone an animal when he produced cloned tadpoles in the 1960s, said the scientists, from the Oregon National Primate Research Centre in Beaverton, had performed "marvellous work" that should provide the basis for attempts at cloning human embryos.
Sir Richard Gardner, a Royal Society professor at Oxford University, said it was hard to assess the true value of the work until it was formally published, but preliminary findings, as reported in The Independent yesterday, suggested that it was an important breakthrough.
"It certainly seems to discredit the claim that there is something fundamentally different about primates that makes cloning difficult in monkeys and humans," Sir Richard said.
Robin Lovell-Badge, a stem cell scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, near London, said: "Although this work has not been published yet, it is potentially significant because there has been a worry that primates may prove to be difficult in terms of cloning."
The Oregon team, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, has experimented in placing about 100 cloned macaque embryos into the wombs of about 50 surrogate mothers, but so far the scientists have not had any success in producing live offspring.
Professor Don Wolf, a leading member of the Oregon team, said that the breakthrough resulted from a new way of handling primate egg cells under a microscope using polarised light rather than ultraviolet light and dyes.
The work is scheduled to be published in Nature this month. A spokeswoman for the journal said she could not comment on any manuscript that may be in press.
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...