Yesterday a paper (“Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer” in Cell) came out that reported for the first time the production of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) by the method of early embryo cloning via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).
This approach, technically called "therapeutic cloning" means that in theory hESC could be made from any of us and be given back to us as a self or autologous transplant.
However, this advance is also (despite the talking points being advanced by some of my colleagues to the contrary) a real big step toward the other kind of human cloning: reproductive cloning.
See a nifty diagram here explaining the two kinds of cloning visually.
This other kind of cloning is the type in Star Wars. But today human cloning seems to be getting closer to reality and less constrained just to sci-fi.
Remarkably, while the US FDA has indicated that it has the regulatory authority to oversee human reproductive cloning (should it ever be possible), the process is not technically illegal in the US. So if someone cloned you or Einstein or Justin Bieber or Sheldon Cooper (if he were real), I do not believe they would be thrown in jail. The FDA would tell them to stop it, but wouldn't it be a little too late at that point?
The paper that came out in Cell makes reproductive cloning a whole lot more likely. While the lead author has stated that cloning monkeys hasn't worked out, it is possible that it may work in humans and the "monkey wrenches" in monkey cloning will certainly be resolved as well.
On the positive side, the clinical potential of therapeutic cloning is a big deal and exciting. And to be clear I support the work reported in the paper, but let's just be clear and honest that this finding does bear on human reproductive cloning too.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- How A Former Naturopath Can Help Unravel The Trickery of Alternative Medicine
- Swarm Bots Kill Mass Shooter
- Can A New Rule Trigger A Second EU Referendum? Petition 4 Millon Signatures, Nearly 12% Of Total Votes Cast
- Nanotech: The Most Dangerous Science Least Carefully Done
- A Billion Years Ago, What Did Earth's Ancient Magnetic Field Look Like?
- Finding All-Hadronic Top - Again
- Did Controversy Over Statins Influence Their Use In The UK?
- "Sorry, but even using the term allopath shows your bias. That is a term invented by the creator..."
- "Lets make something clear- most of you are arguing past each other on topics that are too broad..."
- "Hi Anlain, it explains on the page itself. It's a post vote survey - not a poll, so more accurate..."
- "If british elections and referenda are supposed to be secret ballots,how can statistics like those..."
- "If you really wanted to know the truth you could find many researched and peer reviewed articles..."
- DIY Biohacking: Unethical, Fringe, and Probably Necessary To Advance Science
- Summer Camp Means Fun for Kids, But Panic for Some Parents
- Swayed By Lunch Money: A Grotesque Insult to Doctors
- Sensing Too Much Zika Exposure, Golfers Continue Olympic Exodus
- Cannabis Beverages: A New Way to Get High
- Got Zika? Thank an Environmentalist
- Cannabinoids remove plaque-forming Alzheimer's proteins from brain cells
- NIH-supported study pinpoints origin of 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic
- The July 2016 issue of Geology is now online
- At the droplet of a hat: Capturing mixable liquid interaction
- Triple external quantum efficiencies -- a new material TADF was developed