I now see that the old dishonest game is well afoot: Biotech types and media pretending that human cloning isn’t really human cloning unless a baby is born. The cloning breakthrough is instead being spun as skin cells into stem cells! As if it were induced pluripotent stem cells, which really do turn skin into stem cells.
But back to the mendacity. A story in News.Com.Au — which runs stories from several Australian newspapers — celebrates the cloning breakthrough because it means no embryos are used in the process! From the story, “Embryonic Stem Cell Made From Skin:”
US researchers have reported a breakthrough in stem cell research, describing how they have turned human skin cells into embryonic stem cells for the first time. The method described on Wednesday by Oregon State University scientists in the journal Cell, would not likely be able to create human clones, said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, senior scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. But it is an important step in research because it doesn’t require the use of embryos in creating the type of stem cell capable of transforming into any other type of cell in the body.
Doesn’t require the use of embryos? IT MAKES EMBRYOS TO BE USED! From the paper:
Most embryos . . . formed one or two pronuclei at the time of removal from TSA, whereas a slightly higher portion of embryos cleaved . . . suggesting that some SCNT embryos did not exhibit visible pronuclei at the time of examination . . . Most cleaved embryos developed to the eight-cell stage . . . but few progressed to compact morula . . . and blastocyst..stages. Activation of embryonic genes and transcription from the transplanted somatic cell nucleus are required for development of SCNT embryos beyond the eight-cell stage . . . Therefore, these results are consistent with the premise that our modified SCNT protocol supports reprogramming of human somatic cells to the embryonic state.
Repeat after me: Human SCNT creates a human embryo through asexual means. It doesn’t create stem cells. The cloning is completed when the SCNT is accomplished. After that, there is no more cloning. The only question is what you do with the living human embryo you have manufactured.
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