A study reported on by The Scientist.Com claims that there has been no improvement in the efficiency of animal cloning since the birth of Dolly ten years ago. (Only 1-5% of attempts result in live births.) But the problem is a mystery since cloned embryos and fertilized embryos “look alike.”

Of acute interest, this problem of unknown cause, may make therapeutic cloning treatments dangerous. From the story: “These findings don’t bode well for those hoping to see stem cell therapy a reality anytime soon either, according to Wolf Reik, at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, U.K. “Even if cloned [animal] embryos are born, many are not normal and die prematurely; these late effects are not caused by early deficits in gene expression, and that’s what this study shows,” said Reik. Consequently, stem cells used therapeutically may appear perfectly normal initially, with problems arising only later, he cautioned.”

None of this is a problem with adult/umbilical cord blood stem cells. When this truly penetrates the public’s consciousness, the debate will be won.

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