Mature Human Embryos Cloned

Essay by Petdoc2bUniversity, Bachelor's September 2004

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Mature Human Embryos Cloned

Front page of the Washington Post, Thursday, February 12, 2004, scientists in South Korea state they have created the world's first mature, cloned human embryos. The embryos were grown from cells taken from a woman, with no contribution from a father, a first in human history, and new hope for advancing new therapies. It is difficult to fathom what a significant first this breakthrough holds, and the facts detailed in what these scientists have done are nothing short of remarkable. These scientists were able to extract a "robust" colony of human embryonic stem cells from one embryo, the exact cells, which can change their morphology into any type of tissue, and the cells that hold the most promise in treating a wide range of diseases in humans. The clones developed energetically in the lab, past the normal stage of implantation in the womb, and are viewed as possible feasible offspring.

Stem cells have been successfully grown from traditional fertilized embryos, but as the first to materialize from a cloned human embryo, these cells are viewed with greater medical potential. The researchers have said they have no interest in making cloned babies; but see their success as a way to open the door for the use of these cells in transplantation medicine. This new work demonstrates how much the science of cloning has advanced since 1996, when Dolly the sheep was cloned in Scotland. Other animals have been cloned, but efforts to make human cells from adult human cells have failed. The South Korean embryos grew to the blastocyst stage. Blastocysts have stem cells with the capacity to form every fetal tissue.

Eggs were retrieved from 16 volunteer women who had been given hormones to increase the production of mature eggs by the ovaries. Specially equipped microscopes...