The successful attempts of scientists to create stem cells that resemble those of the embryonic origin, in addition to reprogramming to the embryonic state could eliminate the need for creation and destruction of human embryos for the same.
If future experiments are directed to ensure that this reprogrammed state would be maintained even after removal of the embryonic stem cell DNA, currently a technical hurdle, the hybrid cells could theoretically be used to produce embryonic stem cells lines that are tailored to individual patients without the need to exploit human embryos.
AdvertisementThe hybrid cells created by the team had the appearance, growth rate, and several key genetic characteristics of human embryonic cells. They also behaved like embryonic cells, differentiating into cells from each of the three main tissue types that form in a developing embryo.
This would not only save the embryos from being used for scientific purposes but also eliminate the controversy that exists over stem cell research at the present, circumventing some of the logistical and societal concerns. The above study has used laboratory grown human embryonic stem cells that have already been approved for use by federally funded researchers.
Not much is known about the feasibility of the procedure presently, but has led to an understanding that human embryonic cells have the ability to reprogram adult cell chromosomes following cell fusion.