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Health

Researchers clone first mammals from adult cells using new technique

mice July 22, 1998
Web posted at: 12:05 p.m. EDT (1205 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Dr. Steve Salvatore

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Researchers in Honolulu have successfully cloned five generations and more than 50 identical mice, using a new technique they say can be applied to other mammals.

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

According to the international team of scientists at the University of Hawaii, this is the first time a new technique called micro-injection has been used to successfully clone the mice.

The technique was previously described as impossible by scientists, but researcher Teruhiko Wakayama says he has proved the skeptics wrong.

Dolly

The new technique 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.

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 hope this new technology can be used to help fight diseases and perhaps produce organs for human transplantation from genetically altered animals.

According to researcher Tony Perry, the potential is enormous to make great strides in medical research and treatment.

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