Chinese researchers grow live baby mice from mouse skin cells

July 23, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Two teams of Chinese scientists have made a major advance in stem cell research, taking¬† mouse skin cells and reverting them back to their embryonic state, to generate fertile live mouse pups.¬† The unprecedented feat is a major step toward eliminating the need for fetal cells in research and clinical applications. Stem cells are the body’s master cells, giving rise to all the tissues, organs and blood. Embryonic stem cells are considered the most powerful kind of stem cells as they have the potential to give rise to any type of tissue.

In recent years, scientists have learned how to use retroviruses to reprogram skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells. Researchers though have been lingering doubts about whether the cells called induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells, are truly identical to embryonic cells or instead are capable of producing only some types of body cells.

The new results, published online today by the journals Nature and Cell Stem Cell, appear to vanquish those doubts. The results also open the door to the production of endangered species and the reproduction of prized farm and other animals. However this type of science also leads to speculation of cloning humans, but the researchers involved were quick to distance themselves from such controversy.

“We are confident that tremendous good can come from demonstrating the versatility of reprogrammed cells in mice, and this research will be used to … understand the root causes of disease and lead to viable treatments and cures of human afflictions,” said Fanyi Zeng of the Shanghai Institute of Medical Genetics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

“It would not be ethical to attempt to use iPS cells in human reproduction. It is important for science to have ethical boundaries,” she said, adding that their study was “in no way meant as a first step in that direction”.



3 Responses to “Chinese researchers grow live baby mice from mouse skin cells”

  1. Jason M on July 23rd, 2009 9:56 pm

    Fascinating, Although extensive genetic testing of the duplicates vs. the original mice should be done to insure that there are not serious discrepancies in their genetic code, due to replication errors creeping up from the original cell divisions.

  2. Chinese scientists use mouse skin cells to grow live baby mice | Medicine and Health on July 23rd, 2009 10:58 pm

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  3. renukadevy on August 5th, 2009 1:05 am

    Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells is an alternative methods for studying diseases that are more robust and better simulate how the disease develops in humans. This posting is very useful for me.

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