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New stem cell technique may generate embryonic stem cells without harming embryo

RAW STORY | August 24 2006

"Biologists have developed a technique for establishing colonies of human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a method that, if confirmed in other laboratories, would seem to remove the principal objection to stem cell research," The New York Times will report on Thursday, RAW STORY has learned.

According to a press release, "a single-cell biopsy technique called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)" would be "used in in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics to assess the genetic health of preimplantation embryos."

"The cell lines produced using this technique appear to be identical to hES cell lines derived from later-stage embryos using techniques that destroy the embryo's developmental potential," the press release continues.

Excerpts from the Times article:

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“There is no rational reason left to oppose this research,” said Dr. Robert Lanza, vice president of Advanced Cell Technology and leader of a team that reported the new method in an article published online by the journal Nature.

But critics of human embryonic stem cell research raised other objections, citing the possible risk to the embryo from using the technique, and the fact that it depends on in-vitro fertilization, the generation of embryos outside the womb from a couple’s egg and sperm.

The new technique would be performed on an embryo when it is two days old, after the fertilized egg has divided into eight cells, known as blastomeres.

In fertility clinics, where the embryo is available outside the mother in the normal course of in-vitro fertilization, one of these blastomeres can be removed for diagnostic tests, such as for Down’s syndrome, and the embryo, now with seven cells, can be implanted in the mother if no defect is found.

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FULL TIMES ARTICLE AT THIS LINK

NATURE MAGAZINE ARTICLE CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK

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