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Cloning Milestone: Monkey embryos urged to stem cell stage

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11:14am, December 8, 2004

Researchers have coaxed cloned rhesus macaque embryos to grow to the blastocyst stage, a developmental benchmark in which cells form a hollow, fluid-filled ball. The accomplishment marks the furthest point that scientists have yet reached in cloning a nonhuman primate.

Scientists have long been interested in human cloning as a therapeutic tool. Unlike reproductive cloning, which is meant to create genetically identical organisms, therapeutic cloning aims to grow embryonic stem cells into tissue that matches a patient's genetic signature.

Scientists have proposed stem cells as a means to treatments for a wide range of diseases, including Parkinson's and diabetes.

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