Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient's DNA, they announced yesterday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.
The advance, described online in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is the first time researchers have achieved "therapeutic cloning" of adults. Technically called somatic-cell nuclear transfer, it means producing embryonic cells genetically identical to a donor, usually for the purpose of using those cells to treat disease.
But nuclear transfer is also the first step in reproductive cloning, or producing a genetic duplicate of someone, a technique that has sparked controversy since the 1997 announcement of the creation of Dolly, the clone of a ewe. In 2005, the UN called on countries to ban it. The United States prohibits using federal funds for either reproductive or therapeutic cloning. -- Reuters