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Cloning Breakthrough Highlights An Alternative Source For Stem Cells

The recent breakthrough in human cloning announced by scientists at Oregon Health and Science University brings to light an alternative source of pluripotent stem cells that may now get more attention.

Altered Nuclear Transfer (ANT), like Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (cloning), utilizes the nucleus of a somatic cell, to swap into that of a human egg in order ultimately to generate patient specific pluripotent stem cells.

But in the ANT process, scientists alter the nuclear make-up of the cell or the egg prior to transfer, ensuring that no viable human embryo is possible even in principle from the get-go.

The resulting organism can generate robust pluripotent stem cells, like embryonic stem cells, but without the ethical implications that accompany the creation and destruction of human embryos involved in the SCNT process.

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