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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 May 2003

2 May 2003

2 May 2003 American scientists appear to have developed a process which might provide a plentiful source of ova, thus overcoming a practical restriction on many types of embryonic research. It is reported that a team at Pennsylvania university has prompted mouse embryonic stem cells to develop into follicular cells in a petri dish. The cells were put through a series of processes and it is claimed that some of the cells then began meiosis, the form of cell division which generates an ovum. There is also a suggestion that the cells were observed to develop into embryo-like structures. It is unclear whether the process would work with humans. [BBC, 1 May , and Science Magazine online data, 28 April ] Biotechnologists have tried to get authority to use egg cells retrieved from aborted girls. A rich supply of ova would provide significant possibilities for cloning and IVF. Another group of US researchers have shown that adult mouse bone marrow can be made to develop into brain cells. Minnesota university medical school scientists injected marrow into embryos which, after implantation and birth, were found to have stem cells from the marrow in their brains. [Cell Transplantation in The Star, 29 April ] If this will also work in humans, marrow could be used to regenerate damaged nerve tissue.

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