Thursday, June 7, 2007

Major Stem Cell Advancement

(Click on Picture Above)
This has been in the news enough that you might have already heard this. However, as it made the front page of the New York Times, it is a very important advancement.

Scientists for a long time now have been trying to find a way to get adult cells to "become" stem cells since there are so many ethical battles over using embryos. The best way to do this is nuclear transfer which takes the nucleus of an adult cell and puts it into an egg. This process is still controversial since it involves an egg and very difficult and expensive.

The new technique is to take an adult cell and replace only four genes. Changing these four genes works with mice who are very similar to us genetically. If they can find a way to effectively do this with humans it would be easy, inexpensive, and noncontroversial since it doesn't involve an egg in any way. (However, so many people have become fanatically against stem cells they will probably find new reasons to complain. :( )

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