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Cloning produces human embryonic stem cells

Fine-tuning of technique used in other animals could enable personalized medicine

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4:14pm, May 15, 2013

CLONING FEAT Using a laser and a tiny needle, researchers suck DNA from a human egg, the first step of a newly revised process that created human embryonic stem cells for the first time. 

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For the first time, scientists have created human embryonic stem cells by transferring the nucleus of a mature cell into an egg. The cloning technique could nudge the dream of personalized medicine closer to reality, researchers suggest May 15 in Cell.

“It’s a huge, landmark achievement,” says stem cell biologist George Daley at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard University. Creating embryonic stem cells by nuclear transfer in humans, he says, is “the next major technological advance since Dolly.”

The famous sheep Dolly was the first mammal cloned by the nuclear transfer technique, injecting the nucleus of a cell from one adult sheep into the egg of another. Since the animal’s birth in 1996, scientists around the world have tried to duplicate the technique in human cells.

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