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Embryo biopsy harmless -- really

In findings that confirm linkurl:previous ones;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24363/ ultimately dismissed as hype in 2006, scientists have shown that it is possible to create stem cells from an embryo without destroying it. In a linkurl:study;http://images.cell.com/images/EdImages/chung.pdf published online this week in __Cell Stem Cell,__ scientists led by Advanced Cell Technology's Robert Lanza removed one cell from an eight-cell embryo and created viable lines of stem cells. The e

By | January 11, 2008

In findings that confirm linkurl:previous ones;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24363/ ultimately dismissed as hype in 2006, scientists have shown that it is possible to create stem cells from an embryo without destroying it. In a linkurl:study;http://images.cell.com/images/EdImages/chung.pdf published online this week in __Cell Stem Cell,__ scientists led by Advanced Cell Technology's Robert Lanza removed one cell from an eight-cell embryo and created viable lines of stem cells. The embryos developed normally for five days after the procedure, which was similar to the single cell biopsy that fertility clinics perform (called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD). The stem cell lines could retain pluripotency and develop into all three germ layers. Lanza and his colleagues published similar evidence in 2006, but they relied on linkurl:indirect evidence;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/24413 to conclude that the technique was benign. Despite this, a press release from __Nature,__ where the paper was published, and numerous news reports hailed the findings as the ethical antidote to embryonic stem cell research. (Corrections from __Nature's__ press office followed.) In reference to this latest study, Lanza told the linkurl:__Washington Post,__;http://tinyurl.com/2eqg72 "The biopsy had no effect on the embryos' development." I wonder if some of the major news outlets were turned off by the 2006 kerfuffle. These latest data appear much more compelling than those in the 2006 report. Yet some of the major news outlets that covered Lanza's previous findings seemed to have overlooked or ignored this latest study. I called Advanced Cell Technology's press contact just before posting this and will post an update once I hear back from Lanza. UPDATE: I spoke with Robert Lanza about why this latest study didn't appear in __Nature.__ It was not due to the press release problems in the past, he said, and he holds the journal in the highest regard. Rather, "three papers on the same topic in one journal is a little overkill," Lanza said, and that it isn't convention to publish findings that way. Lanza also said the reason he thinks that news outlets didn't cover the __Cell Stem Cell__ paper so heavily is that the findings arent that new. "It's not a question of whether you can remove a cell and have a viable embryo," he said. "We've known that for 10 years."
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