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Biotech Science

Reprogrammed Skin Cells Turned Into Baby Mice 284

InfiniteZero writes "According to this WSJ story, 'Two teams of Chinese researchers working separately have reprogrammed mature skin cells of mice to an embryonic-like state and used the resulting cells to create live mouse offspring. The reprogramming may bring scientists one step closer to creating medically useful stem-cell lines for treating human disease without having to resort to controversial laboratory techniques. However, the advance poses fresh ethical challenges because the results could make it easier to create human clones and babies with specific genetic traits.'"
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Reprogrammed Skin Cells Turned Into Baby Mice

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  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @07:13PM (#28831127)

    one persons moral code should never prevent someone else getting medical treatment. bottom line, if you don't believe in that you don't believe in freedom. this kind of research is what will save lives in the future.

    So, if Bill Gates needs a liver transplant and there is someone in a database who is a donor match for him, you have no problem with him hiring people to go out and harvest that liver from an otherwise healthy person? After all it is just some people's moral code that murder is wrong.
    Or is it that it is only moral codes that you don't agree with that you want to ignore?

  • Re:Controversial? (Score:4, Informative)

    by srmalloy ( 263556 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @07:22PM (#28831207) Homepage

    Read the article more closely; it's not about cloning at all. The reprogrammed stem cells were injected into already-developing embryos to create artificial chimeras -- mice that contained cells from the donor line, not just the parents'. The intent of the research is to achieve true cloning, but they still have to get past the hurdle of starting the embryonic development. However, using this technique to grow organs, since the organs will grow as part of the embryos' normal development, will be "harvesting our own young" -- taking normal embryos, usurping them to grow organs with another genotype, and then removing them for use as transplants. Getting organs to grow in vitro is a much more complex and daunting prospect.

  • by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @08:26PM (#28831611)

    Though part of that is the fault of the original article.

    In their study published in the journal Nature, scientists led by Qi Zhou of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing described how they injected reprogrammed mouse cells into an early-stage embryo to see whether the introduced cells contributed to the tissue of the eventual fetus.

    In other words, they did not take a skin cell and turn it into a baby mouse. They took a skin cell and decided to see if an already existing mouse embryo would accept the stem cells created from it.

  • by Schadrach ( 1042952 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @08:43PM (#28831717)
    I actually watched that video you linked. At what point does something similar to your link text occur? I must have missed it.
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @11:20PM (#28832685) Homepage Journal

    Just so you the human nervous system activates on the 18th day of pregnancy. You know, about 10 days before even a very attentive woman would realise she's pregnant. At that point the nerves fire, they move the muscles, they register the impulses coming from the sensory organs. It is not just active, but it starts learning about it's environment (for example, many stick their thumbs in their mouths, even if the mouth is but a little bump in the face at this point).

    What thumbs?
    Embryonic age: Week nr 3. 2 weeks old. 15-21 days from fertilization.

            * A notochord forms in the center of the embryonic disk. (day 16 of fert.[2])
            * Gastrulation commences. (day 16of fert.[2])
            * A neural groove (future spinal cord) forms over the notochord with a brain bulge at one end. Neuromeres appear. (day 18 of fert.[2])
            * Somites, the divisions of the future vertebra, form. (day 20 of fert.[2])
            * Primitive heart tube is forming. Vasculature begins to develop in embryonic disc. (day 20 of fert.[2])

    It takes a few more weeks for thumbs to appear:
    Embryonic age: Week nr 6. 5 weeks old. 36-42 days from fertilization.

            * The embryo measures 13 mm (1/2 inch) in length.
            * Lungs begin to form.
            * The brain continues to develop.
            * Arms and legs have lengthened with foot and hand areas distinguishable.
            * The hands and feet have digits, but may still be webbed.
            * The gonadal ridge begins to be perceptible.
            * The lymphatic system begins to develop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2009 @02:14AM (#28833651)
    I'm curious myself. I watched the video he linked to and it did not deliver the goods, just a bunch of prolifer bullshit crazy talk.
    I've been searching for the "baby fights off abortion scissors" video for about 30 minutes and I'm pretty sure it does not exist.

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