Thursday, February 05, 2009

Don't say we didn't warn you

Hybrid embryos fail to live up to stem cell hopes

The creation of human–animal hybrid embryos — proposed as a way to generate embryonic stem cells without relying on scarce human eggs — has met with legislative hurdles and public outcry. But a paper published this week suggests that the approach has another, more fundamental problem: it may simply not work.
Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology, a stem-cell company based in Los Angeles, California, and his colleagues show that in their labs, early-stage human–cow, human–mouse and human–rabbit hybrid embryos fail to grow beyond 16 cells (
Y. Chung et al. Cloning Stem Cells doi:10.1089/clo.2009.0004; 2009). The hybrid embryos also failed to properly express genes thought to be critical for pluripotency — the ability to develop into a wide variety of cell types.
Human–human embryos developed normally and increased their expression of many genes, including several known to be involved in pluripotency. Hybrid embryos, however, were short-lived, and failed to express known pluripotency genes properly. Lanza says that his team has ploughed through many different protocols and "thousands" of embryos over the years, without success. "At first we thought it would just be a matter of tweaking the culture conditions," says Lanza. But "the problem was far more fundamental".


Blogger David Lindsay said...

Adult stem cell research and cord blood stem cell research WORK. But they do not offend the Catholic Church. So they are so starved of funding that those who pursue them have to take refuge in, of all places, the French Republic.

2/05/2009 9:46 AM  
Blogger Merseymike said...

Offending the Catholic church is reason enough to pursue any policy!

2/16/2009 4:02 PM  
Blogger Merseymike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/16/2009 4:02 PM  

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