Scientists Create Mice Without Destroying Life With Embryonic Stem Cells
by Steven Ertelt
July 24, 2009
Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — In an advancement that could one day applies to humans and further reduce the need for embryonic stem cell research, scientists in China have created mice from reverted adult stem cells without having to destroy an embryo to obtain stem cells to use to create the mouse.
Chinese scientists created live mice from mature skin cells that had reverted to an embryonic-like state through a process known as direct reprogramming.
Pro-life advocates have hailed the process in humans because it allows researches to take ethical adult stem cells and turn them into an embryonic-like state. The only way to obtain human embryonic stem cells is by destroying human life.
Although the process helps diffuse the embryonic stem cell debate, it gives rise to the cloning debate where animals, or potentially humans, could be cloned and killed for body parts or cells to treat others.
Two Chinese teams injected reprogrammed mouse cells into a mouse embryo and wound up with 37 reprogrammed stem-cell lines, which eventually led to 27 live offspring.
Some offspring were 95-percent genetically identical to the adult mouse whose skin cells had been reprogrammed, which may lead to near-clones or clones as the technique gets refined.
The concern is also that researchers could create chimeras — where a person who shares genes from two different people without the use of natural reproduction.
The study, published in the journal Nature, signals another step toward possibly using patients’ own reprogrammed stem cells for many different therapeutic applications.
Australian researchers have already reported using healthy adult stem cells harvested from people’s good eyes to restore vision in their damaged eyes.
Dr. Shaorong Gao of the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing also created mice using the same technique. He said he hoped to find out if induced pluripotent stem cells are fully pluripotent.
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