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Thread: 'Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child'

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    'Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child'

    'Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child'

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    By Steve Connor, Science Editor
    Monday, 14 April 2008

    A new form of cloning has been developed that is easier to carry out than the technique used to create Dolly the sheep, raising fears that it may one day be used on human embryos to produce "designer" babies.

    Scientists who used the procedure to create baby mice from the skin cells of adult animals have found it to be far more efficient than the Dolly technique, with fewer side effects, which makes it more acceptable for human use.
    The mice were made by inserting skin cells of an adult animal into early embryos produced by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Some of the resulting offspring were partial clones but some were full clones – just like Dolly.
    Unlike the Dolly technique, however, the procedure is so simple and efficient that it has raised fears that it will be seized on by IVF doctors to help infertile couples who are eager to have their own biological children.
    One scientist said this weekend that a maverick attempt to perform the technique on humans is now too real to ignore. "It's unethical and unsafe, but someone may be doing it today," said Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of American biotechnology company Advanced Cell Technology.
    "Cloning isn't here now, but with this new technique we have the technology that can actually produce a child. If this was applied to humans it would be enormously important and troublesome," said Dr Lanza, whose company has pioneered developments in stem cells and cell reprogramming.
    "It raises the same issues as reproductive cloning and although the technology for reproductive cloning in humans doesn't exis

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...ld-808625.html

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    The cloning revolution (part 2)

    The cloning revolution (part 2)

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    After Dolly comes a new scientific technique that is being used to save a doomed species of the white rhino. Could this herald a world without extinction?


    By Steve Connor, Science Editor
    Friday, 18 April 2008

    A revolutionary form of cloning is to be used as part of a last-ditch effort to save one of the world's rarest animals – the northern white rhino – which is on the brink of extinction with only a few individuals left in the wild.

    British scientists are to spearhead an attempt to preserve the genes of a rhino in captivity by using a technique that mixes its skin cells with the embryos of a close cousin, the southern white rhino, which is not so endangered. The resulting offspring will be "chimeras" with a mixture of cells from both sub-species, but it is hoped that some of them will grow up to produce the sperm and eggs of the northern white rhino and so boost the animal's dwindling gene pool.
    If the pioneering experiment is successful, the biologists hope to extend the technique to a wide range of other endangered species whose populations in the wild are severely depleted as a result of hunting and habitat loss.
    Specialists at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh are putting the plan together, with the help of conservationists in the field, who have warned the days of the northern white rhino are numbered with just three or four animals left in the grasslands of north-east Africa. Ian Wilmut, who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep, is part of the research project and has stated that the new technique is more promising and practical than the cloning method he used in his famous breakthrough more than 10 years ago.
    Professor Robert Millar, the director of the Medical Research Council's Reproductive Sciences Unit at Edinburgh University, who is leading the study, said: "There are a lot of African animals under the threat of extinction. We want to protect their genomes, but you have to protect their habitats as well. This is one of the ways of dealing with the problem, especially when the animals get to such low numbers in the wild. It is a method we need to start to get into place as an insurance policy – it's clearly do-able according to the laboratory work."

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...-2-811224.html

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