Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh say they have found a new way to clone animals from mature stem cells. Many scientists have argued that cloning animals using older tissue wasn't possible because the mature cells couldn't regenerate. Since Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1997, all animal clones have been made from stem cells or stem-like cells. But the new findings prove that older cells do have utility when it comes to cloning. "Writing in the November issue of Nature Genetics, [University of Pittsburgh scientists] said they used somatic cell nuclear transfer, in which the nucleus from a cell of the animal to be cloned is injected into an egg whose nucleus has been removed." This technique was used on blood cells at a number of different maturity levels and they were surprised to find that cloning efficiency increased with the older cells. The researchers say their finding could have exciting applications in medicine, such as growing and transplanting organs.
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