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Medical News and Perspectives
August 17, 2005

Scientists Confront Cloning Challenges

JAMA. 2005;294(7):783-784. doi:10.1001/jama.294.7.783

San Francisco—Nuclear cloning holds great promise for curing or alleviating a number of diseases and conditions. Apart from various ethical considerations, the technique has a number of technical hurdles to clear before it has a chance of making its way into the clinic.

Nuclear cloning (also called nuclear transfer) involves replacing the DNA of a donated egg with the DNA from a patient’s cell and coaxing the egg to divide and produce embryonic stem cells. These are then manipulated and introduced back into the patient. Although a group of researchers in South Korea recently succeeded in using patient DNA in nuclear cloning to derive 11 new human embryonic stem cell lines (Hwang et al. Science. 2005;308:1777-1783), many efforts remain unsuccessful, and scientists are keen to find strategies for making nuclear cloning more efficient.