Clones and Telomeres

From: John Clark (
Date: Fri Apr 28 2000 - 08:01:59 MDT

In today's issue of the journal "Science" Dr. Robert P Lanza reports that clones
made from old cows should live at least as long as regular cows, using several
standard measures of cellular aging he found they're made of cells that act more
youthfully than normal cows of their age. He even found the clones have telomeres
that are slightly longer than average. Dr. Lanza says his cloned cows "could be the
longest lived cows on the planet". He also reports that in studies of serially cloned
mice a trend toward lengthening of the telomere has also been found. Apparently if
Dolly the sheep's telomeres really are shorter than normal it must be an abnormality
of some sort rather than a fundamental flaw in the cloning process. Michael West of
Advanced Cell Technology says this is all very good news as he is trying very hard
to use a variation of the technique to make spare parts for people and wouldn't want
them to ware out before the rest of the body.

More good news, in the same issue of Science the first unequivocal success in using
gene therapy to cure a patient was reported. Dr. Alain Fischer treated two babies who
had a lethal hereditary disease called SCID, 10 months after the treatment none of
his tests could find any difference between his patients and normal healthy children.

       John K Clark

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