Team Clones Stem Cells From 75-Year-Old's Skin
Technique could be used to produce tissue perfectly suited to patients
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2014 7:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – A team of researchers has made a sure-to-be controversial breakthrough in both stem cell and cloning research, creating stem cells from two adults using cloning techniques. The researchers took DNA from skin cells from two men, aged 35 and 75, and injected it into unfertilized eggs whose DNA had been removed, NBC News explains. They then zapped the eggs with electricity to coax them into dividing until they became early-stage embryos, which were then used to make embryonic stem cells—with DNA identical to the donors. In theory, the technique could be used to produce tissue perfectly suited to patients.

The technique has been carried out successfully once before, but using cells from infants. "If you can't do this with adult cells, it is of limited value," a study co-author tells the Wall Street Journal, because there are more diseases the therapy can treat for adults. What the research paper leaves unsaid is that this is also a breakthrough in human cloning, the Washington Post points out. While the very early-stage embryos might not be viable in a womb, the prospect is now closer.