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Are mature cells better than stem cells for cloning?

According to scientists in the U.S. cloning can be performed without the stem cells and other mature cells seem to perform better//.

Two baby mice were created from fully matured blood cell that cannot produce more of its kind, by a team at the Pittsburgh University. This is contrary to the general notion that only immature stem cells that can differentiate in to several different types of cells are capable of doing it.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a method of cloning in which, an embryo is generated by transferring the nucleus or the genetic material of the cell to an unfertilized egg whose own genetic material has been removed. The embryo generated is an exact replica of the donor of the genetic material.

Scientists had pinned their hopes on stem cells as they are still at an early stage of development and have the capacity to differentiate into different types of cells forming tissues and organs. Hence, they were hopeful of treating several genetic disorders. However, the rate of success was only 1-5% in studies using adult stem cells from mature tissue to generate early stage embryo.

Dr Tao Cheng and colleagues conducted studies to detect if granulocytes, fully matured white blood cells, could be used to generate early embryos. The success rate was high and in fact, it performed better than stem cells destined to become granulocytes.

Early stage embryos called blastocysts were generated from 35-39% of the mature granulocytes. However, only 4% of the immature stem cells could generate blastocysts. Two live cloned mice pups could be generated only by the differentiated granulocytes, though they died a couple of hours after birth.

To confirm their findings, the scientists performed cloning using embryonic stem cells, cells derived from blastocysts. Almost 50% yielded blastocysts and 18 cloned pups were born. However, the use of embryonic stem cells is controversial. Thus, sci
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