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The Nuclear Option; Stem Cell
Article from Bulletin/Magazine
The Economist (http://search.proquest.com/) vol. 400 no. 8754 (Oct. 2011)
Perpustakaan Pusat (Semanggi)
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Lihat Detail Induk
A particular sheep has haunted stem-cell researchers for years. In 1996 Ian Wilmut, of the Roslyn Institute, in Edinburgh, removed the nucleus of an ovine egg cell and replaced it with that of an adult cell. The resulting hybrid was grown into a tiny embryo known as a blastocyst, implanted into the womb of a surrogate mother, and went on to become Dolly, the world's most famous ewe. This trick--cloning an adult mammal by nuclear transplantation--has never, as far as anyone knows, been repeated on humans. Apart from the technical difficulties, the ethical objections have dissuaded most serious researchers from even trying. But those researchers would like to get to the blastocyst stage, because that would allow them to make what are known as pluripotent stem cells, which are cells that can go on to turn into a wide variety of other cell types. In the immediate future, such cells might be used (because they are genetically identical to known individuals) to screen drugs for gene-specific side effects. In the longer term they might yield transplantable organs with the same genotype as the recipient, thus eliminating the problem of rejection. This week Scott Noggle of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, a charitable research institute, and his colleagues report a step towards that goal. In a paper in Nature they describe a way of creating pluripotent human stem cells (albeit imperfectly, since the cells in question end up with two sets of chromosomes) by nuclear transplantation. Intriguingly, they seem, at the same time, to have dealt with one of the ethical objections to this sort of work. This is: how do you get your hands on enough human eggs to do it in the first place?
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