Jan 21, 2008
Cellular biologists working for the company Stemagan, based out of San Diego, California, have claimed something amazing: That they've managed to produce human embryos using skin cells from men instead of gametes (NY Times link - use Bugmenot if you need access). The embryos thus produced didn't develop very far, only to the blastocyst stage, but that in itself is a breakthrough. It wasn't necessary to force the division of the third stage for example (which is thought to have happened by accident under laboratory conditions at least once in medical history), for example. However, because embryonic stem cells weren't part of the experiment, not many people sat up and took notice (I guess stem cells are more hot in the research arena than cloning entire people). They've published a paper through the journal Stem Cells (subscription only, starting at $205us) - if anyone has a copy, I'd love to take a look at it.
Experimental results showed that of 29 trials using donated eggs, five of them developed into blastocysts. One was shown to be a genetic clone, while another two produced strong evidence that they were genetic clones.