Therapeutic cloning has taken another body blow with a report in a leading journal that cloned embryos appear to be genetically normal, even though most cloned embryos develop abnormally. The implication is that scientists are still far from understanding the cloning process.
The findings also suggest that therapies from therapeutic cloning are not around the corner. “Even if cloned embryos are born, many are not normal and die prematurely,” Wolf Reik, of the UK’s Babraham Institute, told The Scientist magazine. “These late effects are not caused by early deficits in gene expression.” At first embryonic stem cells may look normal, but problems may emerge later on. And Atsuo Ogura, of Japan’s Riken Bioresource Center, remarked that this study clearly indicates that technical improvements cannot overcome the post-implantation problems of clones”.
Despite this pessimism, the leading author of the article, Jerry Yang, of the University of Connecticut, still asserts that the findings are “good news for therapeutic cloning and bad news for reproductive cloning”.
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