Some scientists are working with human tissues on a technique known as research cloning (also called somatic cell nuclear transfer or SCNT) in an effort to produce genetically specific embryonic stem cells.
SCNT involves putting the nucleus of a body cell into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. The resulting clonal embryo is induced to begin dividing with chemicals or electricity. When it has developed to about 100 cells, stem cells are harvested from it.
To date, no human stem cell lines have been produced using research cloning, although clonal embryos have been successfully derived. In early 2006, claims by Hwang Woo Suk to have cloned human embryos and derived stem cell lines from them were revealed to be fraudulent.
Research cloning raises concerns: risks to women whom scientists are asking to provide the necessary eggs; exaggerated and probably unrealistic claims of "personalized" therapies; and, because the same technique would be the first step in reproductive cloning, the need for effective oversight to prevent efforts to produce cloned humans. If the many technical obstacles to such treatments were ever overcome,
they would likely be enormously expensive, and thus inaccessible to
In recent years, lack of progress in research cloning and progress with creating genetically specific stem cells via reprogramming methods have led many scientists to abandon the former field.
The Clone Named Dollyby Nicholas Wade, The New York TimesOctober 14th, 2013This week’s Retro Report video tells the story of Dolly the sheep. The Scottish scientists who created her recall the painstaking process of trying to get the experiment to work.