Re: "Cloning Breakthrough" not one

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 09:40:56 MST

On Mon, 26 Nov 2001, John Clark wrote:

> Unfortunately I don't think this is as huge a breakthrough as the
> public relation people at Advanced Cell Technology would have
> you believe. In fact it seems a bit of a flop. When they tried true
> cloning they only got to 6 cells and then it died, when they tried
> another technique, parthenogenesis, (not really cloning at all)
> they still couldn't keep "the embryo" living past 100. Neither
> method produced stem cells and that's what they were trying to do.

I pointed out the problem with the source of cells they were using.
To get blood borne stem cells you have to use a cell sorter which
is a pretty expensive piece of equipment. You probably also have
to go through a slew of patent rights various groups have on their
isolation. To get intestinal crypt stem cells, I expect you would
need a needle biopsy through the abdomen -- much more invasive and
potentially risky than a skin punch. Obviously neuronal stem cells
are even *more* difficult.

This isn't going to get to be a "breakthrough" until one figures
out how to deprogram differentiated cells (if it is even feasible).
Otherwise you have to figure out the easiest way to get the least
differentiated material out of the body and determine the markers
that you can use to determine that you really have what you really

Its going to take a lot more work in the trenches I fear.

I think the timing of the work might be fortuitous however.
Congress has a lot on its plate right now (cranking out the
pork in the anti-recession bill), so the Senate may not get
back to cloning this year.


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