Feeds

Copyrighted mice give OK on vat-grown organs

Big Blue® brand rodents scotch mutant clone peril

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.) ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.