Science Gets Closer To Cloning Humans

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It still seems like the stuff of science fiction when you think of it but with the strides being made in biological science, it may one day become fact. Cloning has become one of the Holy Grails of cellular biology and still remains elusive, though we are getting closer to achieving that dream.

Scientist clone embryo

A group of researchers from the U.S. have published results of an experiment that aimed to clone human tissue to replace damaged areas in the heart due to a heart attack. The result was a breakthrough in stem cell research and cloning. The team managed to derive heart tissue from skin tissue by using an unfertilized human egg.

embryonic stem cells

Skin tissue from two donors, one aged 35, the other 75, were extracted and used to replace DNA from inside an unfertilized human egg. The egg “reprogrammed” the cells to go back to their initial stage as pre-embryonic tissue called a blastocyst. A blastocyst is a collection of 50 to 100 cells that evolve in to the embryo later on. The blastocyst was kept in a culture solution where it was induced by a combination of chemicals to turn in to heart tissue with DNA identical to the donor’s.

Cloning technique: a donor egg before nucleus extraction

This breakthrough should be a sign of good things to come as tissue replacements for damaged areas such as the heart, the liver, the eye and the stomach are frequently needed. This could only come from the derivation of adult human cells as cells from a baby are not nearly as mature or diverse to derive nearly as many types of tissue as adult cells.

The prospect of cloning entire humans though, is still out of reach.

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