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Biotech Science

Scientists Clone Human Embryos To Make Stem Cells 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the me-an-the-other-me dept.
cyachallenge writes "Scientists say they have, for the first time, cloned human embryos capable of producing embryonic stem cells. 'We had to find the perfect combination,' Mitalipov says. As it turned out, that perfect combination included something surprising: caffeine. That ingredient, plus other tweaks in the process, including using fresh eggs and determining the optimal stage of each egg's development, Mitalipov says."
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Scientists Clone Human Embryos To Make Stem Cells

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  • Starbucks is now offering the Frappeblast(tocyst) (c).
  • Makes everything EVEN BETTER!!!
  • Whenever I have eggs and caffeine it upsets my bowels.
  • Breakfast? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:19PM (#43736339)

    "using fresh eggs and caffeine"

    Sounds more like making breakfast than human cloning.

    • I prefer green eggs and ham.
    • I have this vision of the scientists keeping the cell cultures separate by placing them into separate waffle holes. Square waffles make more sense because they form a simple grid, which makes recording the data easier.

      Clearly I'm thinking about this too much.

  • caffeine == life

  • by sehlat (180760) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:32PM (#43736427)

    It is by the juice of java that cells acquire speed
    The body begins to grow
    The growth becomes a forming.
    It is by caffeine alone I set my cells in motion

  • by harlequinn (909271) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:49PM (#43736523)

    The Slashdot headline neglected to mention that they synthesised an embryo from adult human skin cells - so it's 100% genetically compatible with the donor.

    • Maybe it's time to appoint new editors by clonning several Maldas..

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      That would be a major omission. I was wondering how cloning an embryo would be news.

      I'm sure it isn't done every day of the week due to the ethical concerns, but I couldn't see how cloning embryos would present any difficulty at all. You basically just have to pluck a cell off of it and you're done as long as it is done before differentiation. if you chop an embryo in two you end up with identical twins, which is exactly how it happens naturally.

      Cloning an embryo from an adult cell (especially a skin cel

      • Mostly. There is still an issue with yield - almost all of the embryos cloned will die soon after. Everyone remembers Dolly, no-one really notices the hundreds of other sheep clones that didn't survive. Primate yields are a lot lower - for some yet-unknown reason their embryos are exceptionally delicate. It's a problem with human cloneing, because human eggs are expensive - the only way to get them is to pump a woman full of hormones to induce many ovulations at once. A very unpleasant experience for the wo

    • What the summary also neglected to point out is that we've been cloning Embryonic Stem Cells for over five years all they are doing is making it more reliable and retaining 100% compatibility with the donor (Something they had issues with previously)
    • Somatic Cell Nuclear transfer. Actually the nice thing about this is that if you had some genetic disease(like cystic fibrosis) you could take the genetic material out of one of your skin cells, correct it, and then use that with this process to make an embryo. If at some point humanity figured out how to grow an organ from this embryo then you could try to make a lung with this that didn't have cystic fibrosis but you wouldn't reject either.
    • I beg to differ. It's 99% genetically compatible. 1% is mitochondrial DNA, which can still prompt an immune response rejecting a transplant. Unless the donor oocyte has the same mitochondria as the recipient -- like a mother, sister or maternal grandma's oocyte.
  • by Nyder (754090) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:54PM (#43736559) Journal

    Was it a "oops" moment when one of the scientist knocked some of his coffee into a sample?

  • Now they'll have the anti stem cell AND anti cloning nutjobs to deal with.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @08:19PM (#43736739)

    ... just as much of a person as an embryo is.

    So if one has any sort of ethical dilemma with harvesting stem cells from embryos under the notion that such willful destruction of embryos is equivalent to premeditated homicide, this particular technique shouldn't make those people breathe any easier, and in fact, may be cause for them to scream even more outrage at the notion that, to use words they might throw around, "they are creating even more people to deliberately murder".

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      there comes a point in the development of a fetus, where he or she can experience and react to pain or drastic change to surrounding environment. I'd like people to consider that at that time the person is a human being and needs to have rights recognized. I am not opposing an abortion of a mass of cells that don't have such ability.

      • There are two problems with that standard:

        1. Rodents react to pain too. For you standard to work you need to declare that humans are 'special' without specifying exactly why this is the case. That, or declare rat poison a weapon of mess destruction.

        2. It's subjective enough that the definition can be twisted for political ends.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          3. What about disorders which greatly dull or block a person's ability to feel pain?

          4. Would continually injuring a fetus until you detected a pain response be considered torture?

      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        My standard is the point the fetus is able to live independently of the mother. Up to that point it's just a parasite of the mother and nobodies business but hers.

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          premature babies two months old have survived with care. without care a toddler would die.

          • by riverat1 (1048260)

            Yes, when I say independent of the mother I mean they are able to survive once they leave the womb. Yes, after birth the baby still needs care but the biological mother isn't required after that point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ideadman (952695)
      The Slashdot headline neglected to mention that they synthesized an embryo from adult human skin cells........
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Are you suggesting that an embryo made from human skin cells is less of an embryo than one made by combining sperm with an egg cell? Christians don't consider Adam to be any less of a man just because he was made from dirt, and not birthed from a woman. Billy Peltzer didn't seem to consider Gizmo's offspring to be less mogwai just because they came into being by spilling water on him, and weren't the result of Gizmo getting freaky with another mogwai.

        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          These embryos are essentially just carbon copies of the donor they got the skin cells from. As such I think all that matters is the feelings of the skin cell donor.

    • by pevans (44803)

      Exactly. Well said.

    • question...

      The artical mentions that some have ethical concerns that the egg donors were/are paid for their contributions. This has always struck me as odd. Why should these women NOT be paid? They are undergoing significant discomfort and inconvenience, and I would guess at least some risk to their health, since the procedure is probably performed under sedation if not anesthesia. The researchers themselves are paid, almost certainly so are the 'ethics professionals' who are wringing their hands over

      • by pnutjam (523990)
        Here's a questions someone might be able to answer. If a woman has all her eggs when she is born, why are we harvesting them from living women, why aren't cadaverous eggs a viable solution? One body donated to science could yield thousands of eggs?
    • ... just as much of a person as an embryo is.

      So if one has any sort of ethical dilemma with harvesting stem cells from embryos under the notion that such willful destruction of embryos is equivalent to premeditated homicide, this particular technique shouldn't make those people breathe any easier, and in fact, may be cause for them to scream even more outrage at the notion that, to use words they might throw around, "they are creating even more people to deliberately murder".

      Well, biologically, yes, a clone could be identical to an embryo, but biological definitions aren't the issue, are they? Leaving aside for the moment the simple fact that, unlike in the case of a human embryo, harvesting stem cells from a clone doesn't result in the destruction of the cell donor, you seem to be ignoring the social, cultural, and political definitions of a person that create the ethical dilemmas you are alluding to. Personhood is an extremely arbitrary and shifting concept, with thousands

    • You're wrong! Cloned embryos don't have souls, God only gives souls to embryos that from from an egg and a sperm cell!

      (This was sarcasm, BTW FYI FTW.)

    • So if one has any sort of ethical dilemma with harvesting stem cells from embryos under the notion that such willful destruction of embryos is equivalent to premeditated homicide, this particular technique shouldn't make those people breathe any easier, and in fact, may be cause for them to scream even more outrage at the notion that, to use words they might throw around, "they are creating even more people to deliberately murder".

      Oddly, from reading the article on what's actually done, I'm not sure calling the result an embryonic stem cell is accurate. Digging to the actual study excerpt, they use an oocyte, which if I'm parsing the relevant wiki article correctly, is an unfertilized egg.

      The definition of an embyro is that it's the first stage of life, which eventually grows into a mature lifeform. An unfertilized egg is not an embryo, and I don't think the process of inserting a skin cell results in a cell capable of growing i

    • by irenaeous (898337)
      You are quite right. I have always regarded myself as pro-life because I believe that an unborn human with an operating brain and beating heart is a human being and has an inherit right to life. But I parted ways with much of the pro-life community on defining the start of life at conception. My problem is how can we regard a zygote prior to forming a blastocyst as a individual human life when life is so fungible at that stage. I mean, we can split the zygote and get more than one individual in the form
      • by Specter (11099)

        An embryo that dies due to natural causes hasn't been murdered. Murder requires both knowledge and intent: I knew my action was going to result in death and I specifically took that action in order to cause death.

        As for when life begins, conception is the logical point to choose because it is the least arbitrary. You've specified operating brain as a criteria for your definition of the start of a human life. Define operating. I'm going to assume that you mean a brain that's autonomously controlling at l

  • Didn't Hwang Woo-suk do this 9 years ago? ;-)

    I think I'll wait a little while before I get too excited.

  • I bet if they added bacon the cloning process would go better!
  • ...does to a spider's web weaving ability, this does not sound like a good idea.
  • I would send it to work in my place, except, he would more than likely do the same, and so on, and so forth.. :)
  • I could have told you that. All of my processes are horrible without the addition of caffeine.
  • by NotFamous (827147)

    Bobby was right, "Evrahbahdy muss git clohhned!"

  • As long as we've perfected this, why not just grow them a little more, for meat?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I want a clone of me so it can work and I can troll on /. all day :)

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