Scientists create stem cells from adult skin cells

A breakthrough in human stem cell research could lead to the treatment of countless diseases, invaluable scientific research and yes, human cloning.

According to a study in the journalCell Stem Cell, scientists have synthesized human embryonic stem cells from the cells of adults, creating two different lines from the skin of two donors.

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Using the nuclear transfermethod,scientists took DNA out of egg cells and replaced it with the donor DNA. The cells were basically reprogrammed, butof the 77 samplesonly two fully developed into cloned stem cells.

Lead researcher Robert Lanza says the 5 percent success rate isn't surprising."Reprogramming is more difficult for adult cells than for fetal [and] infant cells, presumably at least in part because their epigenetic landscape from the pluripotent state,"meaning the cells generally dont' have the right enzymes for change anymore.

The researchers reportedly tweaked a method made famous by the cloning of the sheep Dolly in 1996 and improved by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University just last year.

The nuclear transfermethod is the third discovered way to harvest or create stem cells. In the past, scientists have extracted cells from leftover embryos after in vitro fertilizations,a controversial practice. And in 2006 aJapanese researcher discovered a way to create themby injecting new genes. (ViaAsian Scientist)

Lanza's method could provide easy access to stem cells, opening up new research intodiseases like diabetes, Parkinsons and even leukemia. And according toNPR, the researcher wants to create a virtual library of cells using carefully selected DNA donors.

The implications of a real and viable approach for creating stem cells could be startling, andscientists have been wrestling with the ethical questions since the cloning of Dolly.

An official at Oregon Health & Science Universitythinks studying stemcells is necessary, tellingTime,They have become kind of like cursed cells. But we clearly need to understand more about them.

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Scientists create stem cells from adult skin cells

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