In a major breakthrough Oregon researcher’s reported that they had created the world’s first fully formed, cloned monkey embryos and harvested batches of stem cells from them. The monkey embryos were each created from a single skin cell of a monkey. It also effectively settles a long-standing scientific debate about whether primates, which includes monkeys and humans, are biologically capable of being cloned; yes primates are capable of being cloned.
The Oregon team used electrical shocks to fuse skin cells from a 9-year-old rhesus macaque with monkey egg cells whose own DNA had been removed. Perhaps accounting for their ultimate success, the team used a new DNA-removal technique that did not involve the chemical dye usually used to help scientists see the genetic material. They had concluded that the dye was harming the fragile eggs.
Of 304 efforts, 213 resulted in embryos, of which 35 grew into 5-day-old blastocysts, the stage when stem cells appear. The team fished for stem cells from 20 of those and succeeded in two, for an overall efficiency about the same as is seen with mouse cloning today.
“We only work with monkeys,” said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, who led the research at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton. “But we hope the technology we developed will be useful for other laboratories working on human subjects.”
Source: Washington Post
If the same technology can be replicated in humans, and there is a high chance that it can be as monkeys are also primates like us, then it effectively ends the debate on embryonic stem cells as embryonic stem cells can be harvested from embryos created from skin cells.
Imagine this, a single skin cell from your body is used to create embryonic stem cells which is then used to create a kidney or liver for you which can replace your diseased or damaged organ and you will never need any immunosuppresive drugs as the organ is effectively yours. This is a dream many of us live for.