Monkey embryos reported cloned
Nov 16,2007 00:00 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources

Sci­en­tists are re­port­ing the first suc­cess­ful use of cloning to pro­duce mon­key em­bryos, which they then used to pro­duce “mas­ter” or stem cells that po­ten­tially could serve to treat dis­eases.

Al­though sev­er­al spe­cies have been cloned, sci­en­tists haven’t pre­vi­ously done it with pri­ma­tes. In the re­search jour­nal Na­ture this week, the re­search­ers re­ported us­ing a tech­nique called so­mat­ic cell nu­clear trans­fer to “re­pro­gram” cells from adult rhe­sus mon­keys in­to em­bry­on­ic stem cells.

The tech­nique in­volved in­ject­ing the nu­cle­us from an adult mon­key cell in­to an egg cell with its own nu­cle­us re­moved. The re­search­ers then in­duced an early-stage em­bry­o called a blas­to­cyst, and teased out and cul­ti­vat­ed stem cells.

Cre­at­ing em­bry­on­ic stem cells through this pro­cess has only been done in mice. It is thought that in hu­mans, such em­bry­on­ic stem cells could be used to treat a va­ri­e­ty of dis­eases with­out im­mune re­jec­tion, as they could be tai­lored to in­di­vid­ual pa­tients.

The sci­en­tists, led by Shoukhrat Mi­tal­ipov of Or­e­gon Health & Sci­ence Un­ivers­ity, said they gen­er­at­ed two em­bry­on­ic stem cell lines from 304 egg cells tak­en from 14 rhe­sus mon­keys. Their suc­cess with pri­ma­tes sug­gests this ap­proach might work in hu­mans for the pur­pose of gen­er­at­ing em­bry­on­ic stem cells de­rived from in­di­vid­ual pa­tients, they said.

In a re­lat­ed com­men­tary in the jour­nal, Ian Wilmut and Jane Tay­lor of the Un­ivers­ity of Ed­in­burgh, U.K., wrote that such cells have po­ten­tial not only for treat­ing dis­eases but for un­der­stand­ing the ge­net­ics of dis­ease. 

“In our haste to use patient-specific cells in ther­a­py,” they wrote, “we tend to over­look that they have great val­ue for bas­ic re­search and drug dis­cov­ery. For ex­am­ple, such cells could pro­vide new ways to study in­her­it­ed dis­eases.” An in­de­pend­ent team led by Da­vid Cram of Mo­nash Un­ivers­ity in Aus­tral­ia car­ried out an ex­pe­ri­men­tal val­ida­t­ion of the re­search, ac­cord­ing to the jour­nal.

Courtesy Nature and World Science staff