"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.