UK scientists report first cloned human embryo

4 July 2005

In a paper submitted to the journal Reproductive and BioMedicine Online (but not yet peer reviewed or accepted for publication), a team of scientists from the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life and Newcastle University led by Professor Alison Murdoch report the creation of human blastocysts following heterologous nuclear transfer of DNA from human embryonic stem cells into a human oocyte. A total of 36 oocytes from 11 women were used; three clones survived for three days and one for five days. The researchers said that the speed with which oocytes were collected and manipulated was a key factor in the survival of the clones; those that survived in culture had been created within an hour of oocyte harvesting, and within 15 minutes for the one that survived for five days.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) granted a therapeutic cloning licence to the Newcastle team in August 2004 (see newsletter item), for the purpose of increasing knowledge about the development of embryos as the foundation for further development in the treatment of serious disease.

More from us