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?
- Researchers Created A Laser Bullet To See What It Would Look Like - And Here It Is
- Will Holding Thermal Printer Paper Really Send Your BPA Levels Soaring?
- The Quote Of The Week - Shocked And Disappointed
- As The Weather Changes, So Do Beliefs About Climate Change
- ECFA Workshop: Planning For The High Luminosity LHC
- Great Earthquakes Doubled In The Most Recent 10 Year Period - What That Means
- Limiting Global Warming To 2°C: The Philosophy And The Science
- "I have no time for you. Either learn how to have a decent, mature conversation without resorting..."
- "The past 12 months—October 2013–September 2014—was the warmest 12-month period among all..."
- "Do you really think science20 readers are all so stupid that they are going to fall for Climate..."
- "'Mememine' is a well known astro-turfer for the denial industry. He spams the same identical gish..."
- "I have heard (from someone who worked there) of a laboratory in a country far, far away where they..."
- National Wildlife Refuge System bans on GMOs and neonics lack transparency, scientific rationale
- Want better sperm? Eat more pesticides
- Beyond universal donors, some people are programed with no blood type at all
- Anti-conventional ag movement spurs Big Ag to look to organic pesticides
- Can people really inherit memories?
- An end to fat shaming? The 50 year DNA mystery of metabolic dysfunction may soon be solved
- New policymaking tool for shift to renewable energy
- Teens whose parents exert more psychological control have trouble with closeness, independence
- Two days later: Adolescents' conflicts with family spill over to school, vice versa
- Children in high-quality early childhood education are buffered from changes in family income
- 'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia
Books By Writers Here