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Health

Researchers clone first mammals from adult cells using new technique

graphic July 22, 1998
Web posted at: 1:46 p.m. EDT (1346 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Dr. Steve Salvatore

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Researchers in Honolulu have done what many scientists thought impossible -- successfully cloning multiple generations of adult mice using a new micro-injection technique.

The announcement was made at a news conference, referring to research published in the July 23 issue of the journal Nature.

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Dr. Steve Salvatore on the 'Honolulu Technique'
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According to the international team of scientists at the University of Hawaii, this is the first time the new technique has been used to successfully clone the mice.

"This is an important breakthrough because it's the first time that mice have been cloned from adult cells or indeed any cells," said researcher Tony Perry. "I think it may be true to say it's the first report of cloning clones of any vertebrate species."

The new technique, previously described as impossible by scientists, has significant advantages. Previous cloning techniques, such as the one used to produce the sheep "Dolly," involved fusion of one cell to another and had an extremely low success rate.

Dolly

The researchers said their technique has a higher success rate, about 3 percent.

The importance of mice

The cloning of mice is extremely important because of their rapid reproductive cycle, the scientists said. At last count, they have cloned five generations -- and have made clones of the clones -- with all mice healthy and reproductive.

The researchers said the technology can be applied to cloning other mammals such as pigs and sheep.

The cloned animals could be used in genetic and embryonic studies, which researchers say could help advance their understanding of cellular and molecular activities involved in aging and diseases such as cancer, AIDS, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Researchers said the discovery is not about cloning humans, but rather they hope the new technology can be used to help fight diseases and perhaps produce organs for human transplantation from genetically altered animals.

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