A Chicago IVF clinic has created 12 embryonic stem cell lines with genetic defects which it will offer to researchers. Dr Yury Verlinsky, of the Reproductive Genetics Institute, used discarded embryos donated by clients who wanted to screen their embryos. He says that his team has created diseased stem cell lines for beta thalassaemia, neurofibromatosis type 1, Marfan syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, Fragile X syndrome and Fanconi anaemia.
Dr Verlinsky plans to create more stem cell lines since he can screen for more than 100 diseases with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. A report in the Boston Globe did not mention whether the stem cell lines would be sold or offered for free. Specialists in these diseases said that these new stem cell lines would be useful, but that they were not a revolutionary step forward. For instance, scientists have already created a mouse which is a good model for Marfan syndrome.
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