Last year a paper came out from Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s lab at Oregon University claiming that they had been able to clone human embryos by nuclear transfer (the same method used to clone Dolly the sheep). Mitalipov’s group also asserted in that paper that they were able to generate embryonic stem cell lines from those embryos. Moral troubles aside, many of us were sceptical (It had been a long coming).
This week scientists from USA and Korea reported that they have successfully reproduced Mitalipov’s method. This confirms that cloning of human embryos by nuclear transfer -something that for decades had been technically unachievable- is possible. It has been mentioned that reprogrammed adult stem cells may have disadvantages compared with embryonic stem cells (including epigenetic markers that have not being completely erased). However, for all their presumed scientific disadvantages, it seems to me still that reprogramming of adult cells –rather than cloning, generation of embryos, and production of embryonic cell lines- will be the way forward for stem cell research and regenerative medicine.Follow @arielpoliandri