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Posted: 5/24/2005 4:43:29 AM EDT
www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/11698361.htm


Is it the chopsticks? South Korean cloning pioneer says 'Oriental hands' better for lab work

JI-SOO KIM

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea - Can one key to South Korea's achievements in cloning and stem cell research be ... chopsticks?

"This work can be done much better in Oriental hands," cloning master Hwang Woo-suk recently told the journal Nature Medicine. "We can pick up very slippery corn or rice with the steel chopsticks."

Last year, Hwang, a professor at Seoul National University, and his colleagues became the first scientists to extract stem cells from a cloned human embryo. This week they announced a startling advance: They dramatically improved their efficiency in producing human stem cells, growing 11 new batches that for the first time genetically matched injured or sick patients.

A recent visit to Hwang's lab showed why chopstick-like manual dexterity pays off, as two scientists worked on cloning a pig embryo.

One researcher, with her eyes pressed closely to a microscope and wielding the tiniest of needles, poked a hole in a pig egg before gently squeezing out its genetic content. The other, with a straw-like instrument, inserted new genetic material from the cloning candidate pig. It took just minutes, but that work is key to growing the egg into an embryo that's genetically identical to a living animal.

In the human work, such an embryo is grown for about five days, at which time it's a hollow ball of cells. Then stem cells are harvested from its interior, which destroys the embryo.

Scientists hope to use stem cells someday to create replacement tissues for treating people with spinal cord injuries and diseases like diabetes and Parkinson's. But scientists caution any such payoff is years away.

"Some foreign researchers have said three to five decades, some have said in just several years," said Hwang's colleague, Ahn Curie. "We will work hard, but we don't want to raise false expectations."

And they do work hard, through the weekends. "Our stem cells cannot realize today is Saturday or today is Sunday, so we have to work every Saturday and Sunday," Hwang told Nature Medicine. Other scientists say the lab often operates at full capacity around the clock.

On Friday, Hwang reflected on his lab's two big stem cell advances and compared them to reaching the deep interior of a huge house.

"At first, I wondered whether I would ever get to the family room, because there were layers of doors with heavy locks," he said. "But last year, I was able to open the front, and from experience and know-how gained, I opened (this year) four doors at once."

Cloning clashes with South Korea's traditionally cherished Confucian belief that people inherit their bodies from ancestors and should not be tampered with. But the nation's quest for international recognition, a yearning for new medical treatments and fascination with biotechnology help explain why scientists here embarked on cloning and stem cell research.

Hwang said recently his commitment to his work is rekindled each time he runs into a patient whose disease may someday be cured with stem cells.

"Anyone, unless he has a heart of steel, will recognize and accept the need to advance with the research when he sees these patients," he said.



I dont like the direction medicine is taking with this cloning.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 4:56:55 AM EDT
the fact is that is is the future and we can be a part of it or we can get left behind.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 5:02:17 AM EDT
Koreans tend to be pretty racist.

Link Posted: 5/24/2005 5:02:40 AM EDT
I am expecting at least 3 referances to Star Wars Atack fo the Clones in this thread... Here is one

I agree with this being the future. Some great things can come of this, no waiting list and no worries about a replacement kidney working, you just get a new one made and it matches perfectly. But then what about cloning for cheep labor or somesuch. It has the potential for really bad things.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 5:19:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tmleadr03:
I am expecting at least 3 referances to Star Wars Atack fo the Clones in this thread... Here is one

I agree with this being the future. Some great things can come of this, no waiting list and no worries about a replacement kidney working, you just get a new one made and it matches perfectly. But then what about cloning for cheep labor or somesuch. It has the potential for really bad things.



+1

Great for medicine.
We're already running into population and employment problems, why would we clone more?
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 8:06:07 AM EDT
The hysteria over human cloaning is just that-hysteria.

Economically, cloaning for human reproduction has no future. It will be expensive, and very few people are narcissistic enough to be to enthralled about mearly copying themselves. Even gays and lesbians are not enthusiastic about it, people interested in having babies enought to put themselves throgh alternative conception means WANT their offspring to be a part of BOTH of them. Otherwise they would just adopt.

It is however, almost certain that it will eventually be done. Just to prove that it can be done. There ARE enough people out there who would be interested in it to volunteer for experimental cloning, but not enough to make a economic go of it with humans (animal husbandry is a whole nother matter)

Creating "hoards" though is impossible- no replacement for a human womans uterus has been discovered in real life. Although places like China and North Korea (assuming North Korea still exists in a few years) will probably use it to try and keep "lines" of Olympic athletes, artists and scholars for national pride and propaganda purposes, creating a line of "super soldiers" wont work because of a insufficent number of women to carry them...

A far more useful reproductive use of cloaning technology may come from the discovery, announced just a few weeks ago, that embryonic stem cells can be caused to turn into either ova or sperm (although whether these are potent eggs and sperm capable of acheving conception has yet to be tested in humans)
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