If the usual suspects whine about embryonic stem cell research, it stands to reason they’ll be opposed to anything involving cloning, even if it’s just a future patient’s own gene inserted into an embryonic stem cell. But for the rest of us this looks like a promising breakthrough:
USA Today — The study team reports a number of steps perfected in monkeys allowed them to take eggs donated by women volunteers and successfully implant the chromosomes taken from skin cells of other people into the eggs. They successfully start the fused egg growing and dividing to become a human embryo. The cells of these embryos were as a result, genetic copies, or clones, of the cells of three different people who donated the skin cells, one of them a patient afflicted with a genetic disorder called Leigh syndrome.
In a first, Mitalipov and his privately funded team report that these cloned embryos were grown past an eight-cell size (where earlier attempts had stopped) into a full-blown early embryo, containing hundreds of embryonic stem cells. Embryonic cells taken from these cloned embryos were grown into six colonies of cells, the first successfully grown cloned human embryonic stem cells. The embryos were destroyed in the cell collection process.