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.
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: 'All passengers' under investigation, police say
Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client specialises in creati...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Private Cli...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residential...
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ban...