I at first found Mike Huckabee to be an interesting character, as a possible bright point in the dismal lineup of presidential candidates. Unfortunately, his character did not bear up well when I looked at him further, and I’m sorry to see that some bloggers like Rod Dreher still think he’s a viable politician or sign of a genuine movement. This post is to show evidence that Mr. Huckabee would be a poor president.
We now know more of the reason why Ian Wilmut left the human cloning research behind. Researchers from two labs (Yamanaka in San Fran. and Japan, Thomson in Madison) have induced mature somatic cells to become embryonic-like stem cells, matching all the experimental criteria for embryonic stem cells. This new class of stem cells is called an inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Both labs created these cells by using viruses to express key genes in the somatic cells.
You read it right the first time, folks.
Ian Wilmut, the cloner of Dolly the sheep, is giving up on human cloning in favor of stem cell regression, wherein one takes an adult cell and reprograms it into becoming an embryonic-like stem cell. (A briefer overview can be seen here.)
Magee-Womens Hospital has opened a umbilical cord blood bank for either public clinical use or research. This a great boon for raising awareness of a rich, ethically acceptable source of stem cells. Kudos to Magee and Carol Berger for spearheading this, and if you know people expecting to have a baby at Magee, encourage them to make use of this.
National Geographic has a nice little article on umbilical cord blood stem cells here.
The media has a long, long way to go in reporting science: “South Korea to resume human egg cloning“, trumpets the United Press International article.
Umm, guys, the idea is to clone humans using eggs, but not to clone the eggs (or ova) themselves. In the defense of UPI, though, while the title is wrong, the article itself seems to that much right, in that they talking about cloning embryos.
But whether or not one is talking about clones or eggs, the work can’t be said to “resume” since the previous work was a fraud. The article is incorrect when it states that South Korea is planning “…to resume experiments with cloned human embryos next year…” .
There are no clones as of now, people! They are presumably resuming their attempts to clone, and ultimate do what Dr. Hwang had fraudulently claimed to achieve.
There is an interesting, and presumably correct detail in the article about the source of ova to be used for these experiments: only the leftover eggs from IVF work will be used from these experiments. That may prove problematic in that they will not be as healthy as ones taken directly from the woman for use in research–IVF eggs will have had more time to degrade before being worked on by the researchers. It’ll make an already hard task even more difficult, but this safeguard is not surprising in the wake of Dr. Hwang’s abuse of power of female employees and their “voluntary” egg donations.