First cloned human embryos created

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New York, Jan 18: Scientists from the US have created cloned human embryos from the skin cells of two men for the first time.

The New York Times report says the work represents a step toward the promise of creating personalised embryonic stem cells that could be used for medical treatments. Scientists said that they were the first to use human adult cells to create cloned embryos that advanced to the stage known as a blastocyst, from which embryonic stem cells typically are extracted.

''It's an important step toward the ultimate goal of making patient-specific stem cell lines via cloning,'' said Dr George Q Daley, a stem cell researcher at Harvard and Children's Hospital Boston.

Although the embryos grew only to a very early stage, the work could also theoretically be seen as a step toward creating babies that are genetic copies of other people.

Scientists, however did not derive embryonic stem cells, but envision that stem cells created from a clone of a patient could be turned into tissues like brain cells to treat Parkinson's disease and pancreatic cells to treat diabetes.

For the cloning, they used skin cells of two men as the DNA source and 29 eggs donated by young women.

Five blastocysts were developed. One was shown to be a clone by genetic testing, and two others also showed good evidence of being clones, scientists said.


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