Human cloning, for medicine or even reproduction, may be more realistic than ever, Wired reports. Researchers found genetic characteristics similar to normal human embryos in cloned human embryos. The findings are a first step toward therapeutic cloning, in which embryonic stem cells that can replace failing tissues are grown from a patient’s own DNA. Theoretically, the technique could produce a full human clone.
The researchers placed human nuclei into eggs from both humans and animals. While the animal-human embryos did not develop normally, several thousand genes were active in the human-human clones. While ethical problems abound, the research opens some scientifically exciting doors. “We will soon have a way to create a bank of stem cells to expand the range of stem-cell therapies,” one researcher said.