Just over one decade after successfully cloning Dolly the sheep, scientists have cloned the first human embryo from adult cells. The breakthrough could pave the way to personalized organ transplants and therapies based on stem cells that could theoretically be grown into any type of human tissue.
The world’s first cloned human embryo was created last year when a team of scientists used cells from a fetus and an eight-month-old infant. The new experiment, results of which were published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, involved making a clone embryo from cells taken from adult men, ages 35 and 75. The procedure was done by sucking out the nucleus out of an adult cell and placing it in a donor egg without a nucleus.
Currently, stem cells can only be extracted from embryos leftover from in vitro fertilization. The discovery could be used for future organ transplants but it’s still far from leading to human cloning. Instead, the new cell cloning technology could be the basis of growing personalized stem cells. Although exciting, the new breakthrough revisits the moral implications and ethical dilemmas related to cloning.