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Year in Review: Caffeine triggers cloning advance

Human embryonic stem cells copied successfully

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1:10pm, December 23, 2013

CELL MAKER  Using a tiny needle and guided by a laser, researchers extract the DNA from a human egg. It’s the first step in a cloning procedure developed to create human embryonic stem cells.

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With a tweak to the technique that cloned a sheep in 1996, scientists have generated stem cells in the lab that genetically match those found in human embryos.

The feat pumps life into a sputtering field. Until now, researchers had to harvest the cells from embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, or tinker with ways to turn adult cells into embryonic ones, a task riddled with technical challenges.

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