Wilmut leaves nuclear transfer behind

Ian Wilmut, the Scottish scientist who championed linkurl:somatic-cell nuclear transfer;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/6/1/34/1/ -- most famously with the cloned sheep Dolly -- is choosing a different technique for his future research in stem cells. Wilmut has said he will shift his therapeutic focus from embryonic stem cells to induced pluripotent stem cells.

By | November 19, 2007

Ian Wilmut, the Scottish scientist who championed linkurl:somatic-cell nuclear transfer;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/6/1/34/1/ -- most famously with the cloned sheep Dolly -- is choosing a different technique for his future research in stem cells. Wilmut has said he will shift his therapeutic focus from embryonic stem cells to induced pluripotent stem cells. As opposed to nuclear transfer with embryonic stem cells, this technique transfects adult fibroblast cells with transcription factors that make them pluripotent. According to the __Telegraph__ newspaper in Britian, Wilmut is linkurl:dropping plans;http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=A1YourView&xml=/earth/2007/11/16/scidolly116.xml to clone human embryos. Just two years ago Wilmut linkurl:wrote;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15421 in __The Scientist__ that he had been awarded a license to clone human embryos to study Lou Gehrig disease. At the time, he argued that it was the best way to understand and treat the disease, and there have been some recent successes in nuclear transfer, including a report last week of cloning linkurl:primates,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53861 and one earlier this year regarding linkurl:mice.;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53272 However, linkurl:new developments;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/24307 in de-programming adult cells apparently have Wilmut thinking otherwise. Wilmut said in the news report that "I have no doubt that in the long term, direct reprogramming will be more productive, though we can't be sure exactly when, next year or five years into the future."

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