Monkey Embryonic Stem Cell Breakthrough—Finally

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"It may never to possible to clone humans because of a quirk in our biology," reported a number of publications back in April 2003. The claim was based on the fact that stem cell researchers were having no luck at all in cloning primates such as rhesus monkeys. At the end of December 2004, University of Pittsburgh researchers associated with now disgraced South Korean stem cell faker, Woo-Suk Hwang, announced that they had coaxed cloned rhesus monkey eggs to the blastocyst stage. Earlier this year, it was revealed that that data had been faked too.

But today Reuters is reporting success at last in creating embryonic stem cell lines from monkeys. To wit:

Human therapeutic cloning has moved a step closer after U.S. researchers said they had successfully created embyonic stem cells from monkey embryos.

In what would be a world-first breakthrough, scientists told a stem cell research conference in the Australian city of Cairns this week that they had successfully created two batches of embryonic stem cells from cloned rhesus monkey embryos…

Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon National Primate Research Centre in the United States said he had succeeded using modified Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, or SCNT, in which an egg cell nucleus is removed and replaced with a donor nucleus.

The cell eventually forms an early embryo, or blastocyst, with DNA almost identical to the donor organism.

Mitalipov said he used skin cells from a 10-year-old male rhesus monkey and presented the conference with proof of his success using DNA evidence. He also showed slides of the embryonic cells changing into heart cells and neurons.

"Never" in this case lasted a little over four years. As Nobelist and nano researcher, Richard Smalley once said:

"When a scientist says something is possible, they're probably underestimating how long it will take. But if they say it's impossible, they're probably wrong."

Of course, this research needs to be replicated. Whole Reuters article here.

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  1. Monkeys? Check.

    Now all we need are a million typewriters…

  2. Any chance they can cure the monkey Michael J. Fox?

  3. Let us observe a moment of silence in memory of the monkey embryos who gave their lives to advance this research.

  4. “When a scientist says something is possible, they’re probably underestimating how long it will take. But if they say it’s impossible, they’re probably wrong.”

    Ahem. Apropos of this quote, I distinctly recall forecasts that thermonuclear fusion power was only “30 years away” – in the 1960s.

  5. Does this mean they can grow me a tail?

  6. Ahem. Apropos of this quote, I distinctly recall forecasts that thermonuclear fusion power was only “30 years away” – in the 1960s.

    You mean you don’t have yours yet. Goddamn backward Canucks. 🙂

  7. We have to hide the flying cars when all the Snowbirds come down in the winter so they won’t get envious.

    Pisses me off to have go without mine and get around on wheels for so long. But it’s for everybody’s good, I guess. Sigh!

  8. Isaac:

    I realize you defected south, but don’t let the secret of our flying saucers out.

    Klaatu will get you if you do.

  9. Aresen:

    Fear not: the secret will never get out so long as the brave men and women of the Temporal Corps are there to “plug” any leaks about to happen.

  10. Why, I have a fusion reactor in my basement.

    I predict that some sort of freakish Monkey Man will walk the Earth by, um, 2026.

  11. I made it clear to the Council and and my fellow primates that I will not allow our tribe to cross this moral line. Destroying rhesus life in the hopes of saving monkeys is not ethical, and it is not the only option before us.

  12. This is a sin. God created ape in his image.

  13. No, this is a good development. We can totally kick the asses of all those little monkeys.

  14. Ape shall not kill ape.

  15. How long before we can grow an army air force of Evil Flying Monkeys? I’ll bet we pacify the whole Middle East with enough of them fellers.

  16. er, should be “we could pacify,” not “we pacify.” How a nation deploys its Evil Flying Monkeys should be a matter of careful policy analysis. Especially if there are buckets of water lying around.

  17. It always comes back to the Monkey men, doesn’t it Libertate? Hmmm??

  18. What? After I spent MONTHS slaving over a hot monkey brain?

  19. Woo-Suk Hwang!

  20. hot monkey brain?

    Ain’t that supposed to be served chilled?

  21. Finally… the ability to REALLY create a monkey with four asses.

    CB

  22. I realize you defected south, but don’t let the secret of our flying saucers out.

    I guess they don’t allow them for American immigrants.

    I knew there was a reason I should have gotten naturalized. A flying saucer would be cool. I’d’ve brought one back with the gallon of maple syrup and the Cuban cigars. 🙂

  23. Flying monkey brain is a dish best served cold.

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