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Medicine Science

Human "Cloning" Makes Embryonic Stem Cells 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the me-and-more-me dept.
Med-trump writes "Scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory have reprogrammed an adult human egg cell to an embryonic state using cloning technology and created a self-reproducing line of embryonic stem cells from the developing embryo. Lead researcher Dr Dieter Egli said: 'The cells we have made are not yet for therapeutic use. There is clearly more work to be done, this is early days. We see this as a step on that road, so now we do know that a human egg can turn an adult specialised cell, such as a skin cell, into a stem cell.'"
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Human "Cloning" Makes Embryonic Stem Cells

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  • Maybe now we're one step closer to ending the ridiculous interaction between medical research and anti-choice politics.

    • by Squiddie (1942230)
      Ha! Not in your life, bro. They'll hear the word cloning, and try to outlaw it. The anti-science people are very vocal.
      • by spazdor (902907)

        I know you're right, but can't you let me have my optimistic delusions for a few minutes first?

        • by geekoid (135745)

          No. If you slack of for even a second, then make another yard of headway in promoting the anti-science BS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Phyvo (876321)

        As a pro-lifer I'd just like to chime in that I didn't look at the word cloning and then make up my mind to outlaw it.

        While I'm far more socially conservative.than most people here for sure I like doing research into how this kind of thing is done before I reach any kind of moral decision, especially in the complicated world of stem cells and stem cell research.

        • by Squiddie (1942230)
          No matter how you put it, prohibiting any kind of research is immoral, because it deprives society of knowledge. The techniques that we use my be ethical or unethical, but I've yet to see any proper argument against any kind of stem cell research. Let's be honest with each other here for a moment, a group of cells cannot think and has no rights, cannot survive without the host, and those that do go to this kind of research would be thrown away anyway. So what "ethical" questions would any of this research r
          • by Anonymous Coward

            No matter how you put it, prohibiting any kind of research is immoral, because it deprives society of knowledge.

            Wow, you and Mengele would get along almost as well as Godwin and I.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I'm more like a materialist, but i think what you say is untrue. If there is an empirical research is about how populations of whole towns respond to nerve gas i guess, the research is out of question.
            Now you can say, that a computer simulation into this topic should be completely fair. We agree. Just do your cloning research with simulation as well.

          • Given that unalienable rights are endowed by the Creator, it is awfully presumptuous of you to decide at what point in time that happens. Granted, the cluster of cells cannot think, but does that matter? Neither can a coma victim, or a person who's a mental vegetable, or a politician. Granted, the cluster of cells cannot survive without the host, but apart from a few live-off-the-land survivalist types, neither can most of the population survive without each other. These are excuses. That cluster of ce
            • by Squiddie (1942230)
              It's again, just a cell. Also bringing "The Creator" into the discussion does you no good. This is a discussion about science and ethics, and your religion isn't any more valid than mine, whatever it may be. You will never find a point at which the cell becomes distinctly human, since it happens in slow progressions. That being said, you ignore the fact that these embryonic stem cells would just be thrown away anyway. Then again, I ask you, what is the problem? Until it can live outside the woman's body, th
              • Also bringing "The Creator" into the discussion does you no good.

                Might as well throw out the Declaration of Independence then, meaning you're still a British Colony. That means a heave-ho to the Constitution as well (or what's left of it). You can't have it both ways. Either you have God give rights, or you don't.

                You will never find a point at which the cell becomes distinctly human, since it happens in slow progressions.

                Exactly! Since there's no discernible point differentiating the two, the cell has just as much rights as you do, or to put it another way, you have just as few rights as that cell.

                Until it can live outside the woman's body, that group of cells is just a parasite with human genes.

                Um... these cells ARE living outside the woman's body.

          • by tofarr (2467788)

            No matter how you put it, prohibiting any kind of research is immoral, because it deprives society of knowledge.

            Would that include the Nazi experiments on the Jews in concentration camps? I know that is an extreme example, but I raise it to underscore that there are some things which we should not do, even for science. (Which to me is the highest of all goals.)

            • by Squiddie (1942230)
              Certain techniques can be unethical, but in the end, the research has to be done one way or another. Saying that we should not study something is just wrong and does deprive society of knowledge.
    • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @07:51PM (#37619390) Journal

      Not sure where you gents get your news, but the juvenile bias certainly shows ("anti-choice"? Really? Grow up already).

      Nobody with any sense complains about adult stem cells. Each adult has billions, if not trillions of those to spare. Nobody has to die in order to procure them.

      Now how about you tell us how successful embryonic cells are versus adult stem cells? I'll save the arguments - the adult cells tend to work far better for the intended purpose. Turning those same cells into 'embryonic' ones may lead somewhere, they may not. OTOH, it still means the source wasn't a separate and distinct human being that had to be destroyed in order to produce them (which is the whole kick against the embryonic ones in the first place), so I don't foresee any major (or credible) theological or moral opposition to the idea.

      Now, where are those downmods from scores of angry people, most of whom cannot comprehend an opposition based on one honest moral concept?

      • by Tenek (738297)
        Nobody with any sense complains about embryonic stem cells either, just the people who think humans can be single-celled organisms.
        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Nobody with any sense complains about embryonic stem cells either, just the people who think humans can be single-celled organisms.

          I thought it was the people who thought it was preferable to flush all those potential humans down the drain rather than use them productively ?

      • Re:Excellent (Score:4, Interesting)

        by spazdor (902907) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @08:13PM (#37619778)

        ("anti-choice"? Really? Grow up already).

        I'd call them what they want to be called, "pro-life," if only there was any evidence that this were an accurate description of their stance - say, because it tended to coincide with other "pro-life" beliefs, such as opposition to war and capital punishment, or advocacy for healthcare for people who can't pay for it. Overwhelmingly, this hasn't been the case. If you are the exception to the rule, then wear your 'pro-life' badge with pride, I guess. But the vast majority of the kooks with giant fetuses on picket signs don't warrant such a generous phrase. And, mysteriously, the distinction between different kinds of stem cells is overwhelmingly lost on them - the very people to whom the difference should matter most.

        I'm sure you know very well that the definition of "human being" is what the whole argument is about, so using that term as if it were just a universally agreed-upon fact, does you no favours.

        • because it tended to coincide with other "pro-life" beliefs, such as opposition to war and capital punishment, or advocacy for healthcare for people who can't pay for it.

          Actually, if you look at basic Christian religious beliefs, you'll find that consistency in most of them. In any Catholic church, asking around will find all of that to be true.

          So your point was what - a strawman argument?

          • by lessthan (977374)

            You got the wrong thing from the post. There was sarcasm. The stereotypical (USA) pro-lifer follows the Republican belief system. No abortion, but plenty of money for the military, and a strong death penalty. Like the rest of the Republican belief system, strongly contradictory stances presented together without blinking.

          • if you look at basic Christian religious beliefs, you'll find that consistency in most of them.

            you need to define the terms "basic" and "christian", and the inclusion of the qualifier "most" renders the strawman accusation toothless. It seems like a setup for the no true scotsman fallacy [wikipedia.org].

          • by sjames (1099)

            I agree that the religion itself deserves the term pro-life and it may well be that most of it's members do as well, but the vocal and political "religious right" does not. They apparently need to spend more time listening to their clergy and reading the Bible.

      • by rrohbeck (944847)

        That argument doesn't get any more lucid by repeating it.
        The excess embryos used to harvest stem cells will die anyway. If they're not used to harvest cells they'll go in the bio trash bin.
        And if a bunch of a couple dozen to hundred cells is worth calling a human being is highly debatable. Remember you shed way more living cells when you take a dump or blow your nose, and each and every one is viable as we know since Dolly the sheep.

      • by ranton (36917)

        ("anti-choice"? Really? Grow up already).

        Yes really. Pro-life is the more emotionally charged term because it casts the other side as anti-life, which is inaccurate. One side cares more for the life and well-being of the fetus, while the other cares more for the life, well-being, and freedom of the parent (you could argue for the freedom of the fetus too, but you aren't really taking control away from something that has no control over the situation in the first place).

        On the other hand, pro-choice and anti-choice are both very accurate terms for

        • by Trogre (513942)

          Pro-choice more accurately describes one side than pro-life?

          Tell me, do you then propose we also apply the pro-choice label for depressed mothers who want to kill their 5 year old children, because it's EXACTLY THE SAME THING.

          All this "telling women what to do with their bodies" mantra is extremely one-sided and a stellar example of a strawman argument.

      • OTOH, it still means the source wasn't a separate and distinct human being that had to be destroyed in order to produce them (which is the whole kick against the embryonic ones in the first place), so I don't foresee any major (or credible) theological or moral opposition to the idea.

        But you see, the whole point is that every single cell in your body that has a full complement of your DNA is, potentially, a separate and distinct human being. A zygote is, potentially, a separate and distinct human being.
      • "the source wasn't a separate and distinct human being that had to be destroyed in order to produce them (which is the whole kick against the embryonic ones in the first place), so I don't foresee any major (or credible) theological or moral opposition to the idea."

        The conjection is wrong because moral objection to destroying a human being or potential human being is not the only foreseeble moral theological opposition to this idea. Since there is quite general views among my Muslim brothers on this subject

      • Now how about you tell us how successful embryonic cells are versus adult stem cells? I'll save the arguments - the adult cells tend to work far better for the intended purpose. Turning those same cells into 'embryonic' ones may lead somewhere, they may not.

        Except, that's exactly not doing science. Your argument is that, you understand how one thing works a little, and you don't see proof yet that something else may be better, ergo you assume it's not worth pursuing. What if, embryonic stem cell research (and only embryonic) required the sacrifice of 1 million IVF embryos (all of which were in the process of being discarded), but the resulting research would cure 100 million people a year of disease? What if it's 1 billion people a year, or 1000 people a year?

      • If you think that ESC are completely redundant with adult stem cells, why do you think researchers are still pushing for ESC research? Even if you presume to be an expert in the field, it's awfully arrogant to assume you know better than the rest of the field.

        The track record for ESC is quite good. We discovered a lot about adult stem cells and biology by doing studies on embryonic stem cells. We even discovered induced pluripotent stem cells via studying ESC, which are going to be far more useful for
    • Maybe now we're one step closer to ending the ridiculous interaction between medical research and anti-choice politics.

      And maybe the anti-life people will finally realize that adult stem cells are "where it's at".

      Let's all hold hands and make a circle!

  • They turned an egg, a cell with only half the DNA of a regular cell, into a survivable cell line!

    That's like turning Linux into Windows 7 using only BASIC. Or something. I just thought I'd toss out an analogy for those of you who understand computers but not biology to point out how fricking insane that is.
    • They turned an egg, a cell with only half the DNA of a regular cell, into a survivable cell line!

      That's like turning Linux into Windows 7 using only BASIC. Or something. I just thought I'd toss out an analogy for those of you who understand computers but not biology to point out how fricking insane that is.

      It's more like turning a broken installation of Windows 7 32-bit Home Premium into whatever installation of Windows 7 you want by wiping the hard drive and then using one of those multi-installer DVDs that have a custom config page that lets you select between versions.

      • by Bucky24 (1943328)
        Well that's not so hard... Science is easy! (and since I know half the people reading this won't get it, this was meant to be sarcastic)
      • by blair1q (305137)

        It's more like they turned an egg into an embryo. Ever had sex?* Turns out if you do that, it's really hard not to turn an egg into an embryo.

        * - this must always be asked as a serious question on /.

        • by Fned (43219)

          Ever had sex?* Turns out if you do that, it's really hard not to turn an egg into an embryo.

          ...Unless it's not really hard, then it's really hard.

        • by harley78 (746436)
          It's only really easy for a couple days during a woman's cycle. Otherwise, it's really hard! haha!!! They probably copied the haploid DNA and recombined it somehow inside the egg(DRTFA), new technique to "prove" recessiveness?. voila, embryo.
      • No one called me on it (because no one RTFA), but I left the word "not" out by mistake and obviously can't edit it to fix it.
        They did not wipe the hard drive, they did a dirty install and it worked.

        (But it's still unsuitable for using as a base image because of the extra junk. Their goal is to get it working when wiping the hard drive first, but the problem is their multi-installer dvd doesn't contain the drivers needed for the target machine to see the RAID array. The donor egg machine is a newer Dell, a

    • by Xaduurv (1685700)

      That's like turning Linux into Windows 7 using only BASIC. Or something. I just thought I'd toss out an analogy for those of you who understand computers but not biology to point out how fricking insane that is.

      No I'm afraid I didn't get it. Could you perhaps provide a car analogy? In all seriousness, this could be huge

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        An engine comes out of the factory, but it's only half complete. It's installed into a car, and the car goes nowhere. Usually in cases like this, the manufacturer would put in a new engine, and the car would run fine for a bit, then stop for no known reason. Now a bunch of researchers have come along, and put a complete engine into the car, and it can suddenly drive! Now, those researchers didn't remove the old engine, so the car's slower than it should be and doesn't really run well, but it runs and, for s

    • by MistrX (1566617)

      I prefer a car analogy actually.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Actually, they left the egg DNA in and added a full set from the donor cell as well, so the resulting stem cells have excess genetic material. They are not viable in the sense that they could develop into a human being.

      The point of that was simply to determine if the removal of DNA from the egg was the point where human cloning was failing. This research says yes, the step of removing the existing DNA from the egg is the step that caused human clones to fail.

      They must now either find a way to remove the egg

  • I am unclear on if what happened here was anything more than skipping the sperm to introduce DNA into the egg. It sounds like removing the old DNA from the egg was breaking the reproduction method, so they just left it in. Is this any different from normal reproduction other than method of DNA delivery?
    • by blair1q (305137)

      It's little to do with how they did it, and a lot to do with what it does for us.

      Having stem-cell factories means having cell factories, organ factories, body factories, etc.

      • by Ragun (1885816)
        But the tissue isn't comparable with the donor because it still has the old egg DNA. That is why they are describing it as only a step in the right direction, but it seems precariously close what you would accomplish in sex.
    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      Normal human cells have two complete sets of DNA on how to build a human being.

      Eggs have 1 complete set - (sperm has another - when you combine them you get two sets)

      What they did was add 2 full complete set of DNA from an adult source.

      End result has 3 sets of DNA on how to build a human being.

      Two of the sets come from an adult.

      So say I have have kidney disease. OUCH.

      And my kidneys are now running at 10%.

      I could get grow a kidney from that embroy that has 1 set of DNA from say my younger sister's eg

      • by Ragun (1885816)
        Ah, thank you for the explanation. Makes me wonder, if they can inject, but not remove chromosomes well, could they just insert an enzyme or something to disable existing DNA?
    • by sjames (1099)

      Yes, the resulting cells have 3 of each chromosome rather than two. They leave the egg's half set and add a full set from a donor cell.

  • The right because they're against cloning. Of course the left will get pissed because it's using genetic engineering so it might be awhile before the rest of us can have something nice from this tech. Why yes, I am a little jaded. Why do you ask?
    • by tragedy (27079)

      I think the left only gets annoyed at genetic engineering when the results are released haphazardly into the environment to propagate and potentially ruin our food supply.

      • by Phrogman (80473)

        Or when its used to ensure all farmers *near* a field with the genetically modified plants growing in it are required to pay a fee if those plants should happen to cross pollinate with any of their plants (looks at Monsanto). Or when companies claim ownership of a living person's body because it contains a patented gene as a result of therapy (can't find the reference)

        I do not believe it should be legal to patent a living organism, or a strand of DNA, or a gene or anything else that might somehow occur natu

        • by tragedy (27079)

          Yes. Should of thought of those examples as well. The point is that it's not stupid to worry about some of the issues involved in genetic engineering. That doesn't mean that anyone with some concerns is an irrationally scared kneejerk idiot who thinks that any genetic engineering is going to end up like _I am Legend_ like the Great Grandparent poster seems to think. Also, I don't see why only more liberal leaning people should be the only ones concerned about some of these genetic engineering issues. Some o

  • So far, adult stem cell research has proven to be very fruitful. Embryonic stem cell research has yielded NOTHING. Absolutely zilch. But just like "man-made global warming", pseudo-science will always have a home as long as we continue to pay attention to those who mix politics with science.

  • I'm afraid that the previous presidential administration did not allow for such cultural discourse about the matter as it must naturally merit, given the specialized concerns on all sides of the arguments, with regards to stem cell research. Hopefully this administration will find an opportunity to begin a culturally, socially beneficial discussion about the matters, though it must ultimately be a matter decided by the people.

    • by operagost (62405)

      I'm afraid that the previous presidential administration did not allow for such cultural discourse about the matter as it must naturally merit

      Please cite the law that disallowed research or even, as you claim, "cultural discourse" regarding stem cell (I'll assume embryonic stem cell) research.

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