Feeds

Copyrighted mice give OK on vat-grown organs

Big Blue® brand rodents scotch mutant clone peril

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Scientists in Hawaii and Texas have unveiled some good news for planned "therapeutic cloning" techniques, in which new genetically-correct tissues would be grown in the lab for transplant into people needing replacement parts.

Quite apart from religious/ethical concerns about the likely need to create human embryos - which would later be discarded - during the cloning process, there have also been practical worries. One of these is that cloned tissue, having been grown using adult somatic cells from the patient, rather than the germ cells normally used to reproduce, might suffer from high rates of mutation.

Adult somatic cells in general show a much higher spontaneous mutation rate than germ cells do, which might support such a theory. This led professor John McCarrey of Texas Uni and his colleagues to test the matter out using Big Blue® proprietary transgenic clone mice. (Nothing to with IBM; supplied by biotech firm Stratagene, in fact).

According to the boffins, cloned mice produced using somatic cells showed no difference in mutation rate compared to naturally conceived germ-cell mice of the same age; the cloning technique didn't, in fact, result in any mutation problem.

McCarrey believes this is due to a "bottleneck" effect resulting from the fact that only one cell is needed to produce a clone.

"Because a random cell population exhibits a low mutation rate overall and only one cell from that population is used for cloning, the likelihood is remote that the cell chosen to be cloned will transfer a genetic mutation to its cloned offspring," says the prof. There's also talk of epigenetic settings in the cell being "reset" during cloning.

This is good news for people in need of some new skin, bone marrow, heart tissue etc., as it eliminates one possible hazard of growing the stuff from their own cells. In the future, it might even be possible to produce entire cloned organs - livers, kidneys etc. - to replace knackered ones. The great advantage of this over using donated parts from someone else - quite apart from the difficulty of finding donors - is that there's no need for a lifelong and quite dangerous drug regime to suppress the body's natural rejection of genetically-different stuff.

The boffins' paper, Epigenetic regulation of genetic integrity is reprogrammed during cloning, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday. (Abstract here: full article requires subscription.) ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.