Comparison of Stem Cell Production with Reproductive Cloning

The goal of stem cell research using the somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique must be sharply contrasted with the goal of reproductive cloning, which, using a similar technique, aims to develop an embryo that is genetically identical with the donor of its genes and then implant that embryo in a woman’s uterus and allow it to mature to birth. Cloning for reproductive purposes will be the subject of a separate report now being developed by the National Academies’ Committee on the Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Cloning. In the table below, the cellular materials and techniques of stem cell research are compared to that of reproductive cloning.

 

Adult and Fetal Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cells Produced with the SCNT Technique

Reproductive Cloning: Embryos Produced with the SCNT Technique

Purpose of use

To obtain undifferentiated stem cells for research and therapy

To obtain undifferentiated stem cells for research and therapy

To obtain undifferentiated stem cells that are genetically matched to recipient for research and therapy

To produce embryo for implantation, leading to birth of a child

Starting material

Isolated stem cells from adult or fetal tissue

Cells from an embryo at blastocyst stage produced by fertilization

Cells from a blastocyst produced by development of an enucleated egg supplied with nucleus from patient’s somatic cell (SCNT technique)

Enucleated egg supplied with nucleus from donor’s somatic cell (SCNT technique)

End product

Cells produced in culture to replenish diseased or injured tissue

Cells produced in culture to replenish diseased or injured tissue

Cells produced in culture to replenish diseased or injured tissue

Embryo derived from development of egg, implanted and allowed to develop to birth



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