Cloning and stem cells are controversial topics, particularly when they used cells that were part of the reproductive process. Now, Japanese researchers have cloned mice from skin cells. They turned skin cells into stem cells which were turned into eggs. The same process can work to create sperm. No embryos are harvested. No eggs or sperm are harvested. Everything is created from adult skin cells. The cloned mice are as fertile as the donor mice. The intent is not to clone humans, mostly because of respect for ethics and the need for public debate; but the technique clears a hurdle that has hindered medical developments. Enabling stem cell production from a patient’s own cells may be a more acceptable way to grow replacement organs, or help infertile couples. One possibility that will be debated simply because it is possible is using one person’s cells to create both the egg and the sperm creating a child with one parent.
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