Adult stem cells are not required to clone mice from somatic cells, according to a new study published online in Nature Genetics. Using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), researchers cloned mice from fully differentiated blood cells. In vitro studies also suggested that cloning may be easier with these mature cells than with adult stem cells, hinting that adult stem cells may have little in common with embryonic stem (ES) cells, the authors say."Adult stem cells do not have similar advantages to ES cells," lead author Tao Cheng, of the University of Pittsburgh, told The Scientist. "In my view, an adult stem cell is still quite specialized."Reproductive cloning with embryonic stem cells is much more efficient than cloning with somatic cells, but it's never been shown whether mammalian clones such as Dolly derived from adult stem cells or from differentiated cells, Cheng said.Led by Li-Ying Sung...

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