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Reprogrammed Skin Cells Turned Into Baby Mice

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the finally-tim-can-reproduce dept.

Biotech 284

InfiniteZero writes "According to this WSJ story, 'Two teams of Chinese researchers working separately have reprogrammed mature skin cells of mice to an embryonic-like state and used the resulting cells to create live mouse offspring. The reprogramming may bring scientists one step closer to creating medically useful stem-cell lines for treating human disease without having to resort to controversial laboratory techniques. However, the advance poses fresh ethical challenges because the results could make it easier to create human clones and babies with specific genetic traits.'"

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284 comments

yep (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830457)

yep

yep (1, Funny)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830477)

yep. [Second post cloned from skin cells of first post.]

Accelerando? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831261)

What has this to do with hentai?

Aspies burnt to death (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830483)

Aspies ase retarded bastards who are obsessed with linux and slashdot. now it is time to burn them to death

Re:Aspies burnt to death (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830871)

Yeah, I never liked ASP either. And that was BEFORE dot-net.

others trying to force their morales on us (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830499)

one persons moral code should never prevent someone else getting medical treatment. bottom line, if you don't believe in that you don't believe in freedom. this kind of research is what will save lives in the future.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (3, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830563)

the question is when is something considered a separate sentient being, (or a living human). i'm pretty sure punishing people for killing other innocent people (even to save another) is not considered shoving morals down throats.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (4, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830669)

"i'm pretty sure punishing people for killing other innocent people (even to save another) is not considered shoving morals down throats"

but that's got nothing to do with stem cell research - you can kill other people to harvest their organs right now. and it does happen. so that's adding nothing to the discussion.

the point is, we should be given the freedom to get to the point where we need to answer such moral questions like "when is an cloned organ donor human?" for ourselfs, and not have that taken away by the moralist right.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830703)

the point is, we should be given the freedom to get to the point where we need to answer such moral questions like "when is an cloned organ donor human?" for ourselfs, and not have that taken away by the moralist right.

Just because you don't believe it doesn't mean its not right. Or are you ok with the "moralist right" saying that we were created because they have the right to answer it for the world? You see, the problem is, you end up possibly killing someone else if you are wrong. And really, the least you can say is that its not human even though it is A) living B) has human DNA and C) if developed would be a functioning human being. But I'm sure you also believe that each parent can choose what to do with their kid including abusing or even killing them right?

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830881)

"But I'm sure you also believe that each parent can choose what to do with their kid including abusing or even killing them right?"

your talking about a functioning child there, while i'm talking about less then a dozen cells in a test tube. i appreciate you need to muddy the waters to try discredit my point but lets atleast compare apples and apples ok?

i guess your next argument is that those cells MIGHT become a child, but by that logic i'm a murderer everytime i jack off since every sperm MIGHT have been a child, right?

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830975)

Correction.

Mass murdered. On a Hitler-eqsue scale.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (2, Funny)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831045)

Dissolved in the toilet. The final solution.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (2, Insightful)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831209)

Only half, if counting complete chromosome sets.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (0, Offtopic)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831457)

i guess your next argument is that those cells MIGHT become a child, but by that logic i'm a murderer everytime i jack off since every sperm MIGHT have been a child, right?

Just so you the human nervous system activates on the 18th day of pregnancy. You know, about 10 days before even a very attentive woman would realise she's pregnant. At that point the nerves fire, they move the muscles, they register the impulses coming from the sensory organs. It is not just active, but it starts learning about it's environment (for example, many stick their thumbs in their mouths, even if the mouth is but a little bump in the face at this point). In other words, the essential part that makes humans different from animals, the "software" that when running on the brain constitutes a human IS running. The mind is active, and starts exploring it's surroundings. This is days before a pregnancy test will start testing positive (well the ones in the shop here say 2-4 weeks, so most of the time they'd test negative when a baby becomes sentient). Before the 22nd day the brain will take control of the most important muscle of the human body : it will instruct the hearth to start beating (there is an actual signal required from the brain stem to start up the heart : babies without a brain stem develop a heart, but it never beats).

That higher brain functions and analytical capacities develop very, very early on can be illustrated in a manner so dramatical to disgust even the biggest proponent of abortion in a very simple way : a 6-week old baby that's getting aborted FIGHTS the scissors inserted to rip it to shreds [youtube.com] , meaning a baby of that age realises what is happening, or at the very least realizes that those scissors are there for a very bad reason, and is capable of enough coordination against those scissors to convince a human (s)he's fighting her abortion.

Of course, once you realize the timing of this, it makes the whole of abortions morally reprehensible, since all abortions obviously take place after pregnancy is verified, and therefore it is active, thinking minds that are getting aborted in practice. If these killings (of sentient beings, or at least sentient enough to attempt to fight an abortion) are forbidden, however it will put an end to the MTV generation, for a very simple reason : if you fuck once a week, with a condom, on average you will get pregnant after 2 years. If you fuck once a week with the pill, it will be only 1.5 years. If you combine both, you can expect a little over 4 years before the chances of being pregnant are bigger than the chances of not being pregnant.

In other words, without abortions of babys with active minds, without killing of sentient beings in utero, any sexual encounter would have, on average, a 1% chance of resulting in a child, with one preservative, and about 0.5% with 2 preservatives (both condom and pill). It is my opinion that would be the end, before many years pass, of tolerating sex outside marriage, if merely to avoid getting swamped by babies without parents. In any case, there would be a great many consequences of "free" sex running around.

And that is, of course, the real reason behind abortion : creating the possibility of "free" sex, by killing sentient, thinking human beings. Nobody hears their screams, after all.

It is for that reason that I believe that now that the excuse of "but they're not sentient" is shown to be a moot point, nobody will change their mind. After all, all it is is an excuse, not an actual moral argument. People, including many here, simply realise the consequences of abortion : free sex, discos, parties, ... the works. Such things would not be able to last without abortions. And morality ? What's 5 dollar plus good morals ? 0 dollars, since you've given them all away.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830885)

So given that they just managed to reprogram skin cells into an embryo and have it mature into viable offspring, it would be immoral for me to cut away live skin while cleaning off a wound because it could develop into a functioning human being? Please... if it isn't neurologically advanced enough to be aware it is a human being, it does not deserve to live over a person.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831583)

Will someone please think of the human cells!?!?

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831081)

I have to say, this makes my skin crawl. Or is it creep? Run?

A moral implication (0)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830773)

I think this is a great argument against the more extreme anti-abortion people, the ones who consider a zygote or gastrocyst to be an human being.
They typically do so on the basis of such being living, of human origin, and of potentially growing into a baby...but if such is true of any random clump of skin cells....

Re:A moral implication (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830901)

yes, your a murdering bastard for getting that suss looking mole removed - it could have been a baby!!

Re:A moral implication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831041)

Would have grown to the size of one too, had you not brought about its premature demise.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830593)

Yeah, that's why a few years back I beheaded someone so I could steal their liver when mine gave out. I'm glad I got rid of my moral code years ago, it was only holding me back anyway.

Seriously, I think you need to rethink at the very least the way you are stating your idea, because it doesn't really sound all that precise.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830695)

wtf isn't precise about it? maybe you need to learn to read without the tinted glasses on.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831417)

Basically 'not killing people' is a moral issue. What he is said leaves open the possibility that you can kill others to take their organs, to heal yourself. Of course, if that is his meaning, then it may be precise. However, I thought it was reasonable to assume he was a decent chap. Maybe I was wrong.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830761)

I beheaded someone so I could steal their liver

Jeez dude, an abdominal incision would have been adequate. Or did you get some kind of sick pleasure from reaching down through the neck-hole?

Steve Jobs, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831473)

n/t

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830633)

But lets say for a moment that a fertilized egg is a human being. That adds a totally new dimension to the argument. Something tells me that my right to live doesn't trample the right of anyone else to live.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830805)

"But lets say for a moment that a fertilized egg is a human being"

this is exactly what i'm talking about - i don't agree that a couple of cells constitutes a human being, so why should someone like yourself who this has zero impact on get to deny 100,000's of people potentially life saving treatments? i'd like to see these people against stem cell research look a kid dieing from organ failure in the eye, and tell him they don't believe cloned organs are worth looking into.

i think part of the problem is a lot of people have romanticised the idea of conception, if they were to actually go to a lab and see what they are protesting about they might alter their views.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831267)

While I agree with your opinion - a few cells do not make a human - that's not an argument to use when trying to defend the right to do anything we want with "nonhuman" tissue.

You classify a few cells as nonhuman. The next person classifies any fetus up to 8.99 months as nonhuman. The next person classifies blacks as nonhuman.

No, to properly have this debate, you have to mutually (or at least majorally) define human.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1, Flamebait)

Belisarivs (526071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831345)

Well, let's take this a step further. Hypothetically, let's say that there isn't a sanctified right to life for fully grown humans. Those who are a drag on society (the homeless and mentally ill, the generally useless) should be resources for those that are contributors. Let's say a CEO is suffering from a failing liver. If he gets a replacement, he can continue to run his company for years to come. He can generate a great deal of money for a great many people. His blood matches a homeless man who is a drain on society - everyone has to pay to keep him alive. Because, using this ethical framework - and using your moral argument that simply because someone don't recognize another's right to exist they shouldn't be interfered with - should the CEO decide to take the homeless man's liver, thereby killing him, you wouldn't have a problem with it.

I just don't understand the position you take. Heaven knows you aren't the first person I've heard take it. I'm not sure how to classify it - I'm hesitant to call it pro-choice or pro-stem cell, because I know people who fall into that crowd but understand the serious ethical implications of the argument. But this argument, that science should be unconstrained by ethical and moral considerations, and the fact it's so prevalent on Slashdot, is downright scary. Or perhaps it's not that you're arguing that it should be unconstrained, but that you're not willing to entertain opposing points of view as to what has a right to exist as a human being. But, you haven't argued against it, and I doubt you even understand it, but rather rejected it out of hand. That isn't insightful but ignorant.

The traditional argument of freedom is that your rights end at the other person's nose begins. There is an argument about that line of demarcation. It's not a minority opinion either, and you don't have the right to dismiss it out of hand simply because it's inconvenient to think about.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

Joren (312641) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831577)

this is exactly what i'm talking about - i don't agree that a couple of cells constitutes a human being, so why should someone like yourself who this has zero impact on get to deny 100,000's of people potentially life saving treatments?

This stem cell thing seems to lend itself to emotional drama on both sides. "Think of the dying patients in the hospitals!" "Think of the little unborn children!" None of which does anything to settle the question of whether or not they are human. Emotional appeals do nothing to advance an argument or change anyone's opinions, if that's the goal; all they do is radicalize people further into what they already believe. Shoot...I can claim that cigarette butts are human beings and we shouldn't walk on them. I could concoct some sob story about Johnny Cigarette Butt who's life was crushed by the sole of a thoughtless cur on Main St. And on the other extreme, I can't get away with things that are obviously wrong and just say "Well it will help a bunch of other people so that makes it ok." People used to use that to justify slavery, saying that even if it was wrong, it was indispensable to the economy of the south and that therefore the good outweighed the evil. I'm glad we live in an age where questions of one's humanity are debated at the level of the embryo and not one's race, diseased status, disability, moral persuasions, etc. We have truly advanced since then. But back when those questions were on the table, people would sometimes use this kind of logic to justify what they did to oppress others - "I believe they aren't human." "I believe they ARE human" "Yeah? Well it doesn't affect you, so bugger off and let me alone. What you think shouldn't stop my freedom to do what I please." That isn't enough.

I guess what I'm saying is, there needs to be a rationale. For me to wade into a gray area and say it's ok to destroy an egg? If I want a clean conscience, I would need some sort of assurance that we're not going to later find out I was killing people. For me to make a law banning others from doing that also requires a rationale. I need to be able to say there's enough doubt about their status as non-humans that it is justifiable to take the safe road and forbid it. And I guess we also need to realize we're gonna make mistakes as we advance as a society, we are going to mess up and later regret some things we are doing now. We still need to make a good-faith effort to get it right the first time, though.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (4, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830831)

I for one find it ridiculous that a single cell would enjoy the same rights as a real person with a personality, experiences, and so forth. The moment a single cell can be a legal human is the moment I'll embrace the concept of 'lesser' humans that can be slain for the convenience of 'superior' humans (where one human would be superior than another one when the cellcount of the former is at least 9 orders of magnitude larger than the cellcount of the latter.

No wait, screw that. Why again does being a 'human being' make something special? Maybe that's worth examining.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831303)

Why go that far? Let's say sperm is a human being.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831043)

I'm just really confused who this Morales person is, and why you're talking about others forcing him/her on us. That's kind of gross, and also ethically questionable. I guess in your world I don't believe in freedom. False dilemma, much? What? HOLLA!

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (2, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831127)

one persons moral code should never prevent someone else getting medical treatment. bottom line, if you don't believe in that you don't believe in freedom. this kind of research is what will save lives in the future.

So, if Bill Gates needs a liver transplant and there is someone in a database who is a donor match for him, you have no problem with him hiring people to go out and harvest that liver from an otherwise healthy person? After all it is just some people's moral code that murder is wrong.
Or is it that it is only moral codes that you don't agree with that you want to ignore?

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831315)

Most people would like to ignore moral codes that they don't agree with.

Just sayin'.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831221)

The moral line always has to be drawn somewhere. If my twin was the only hope of getting medical treatment by killing him and taking his organs, then by your definition, it should be fine and dandy. Sorry, but your logic is leaking all over the floor.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831269)

That is a nice altruistic view you got there. And I would agree with it. If it had anything to do with physical reality.

Because there, the ideal, is to yourself be the one taking all resources, and be the only one to reproduce. (Where in the realm of ideas, "yourself" is the group of everyone agreeing with your world view.)

It's the ultimate motivation. The only reason we exist. And without it, there is no evolution.

But it's not that bad, if you think a bit further than "that is egoistic". Because in its most successful implementation, it really isn't.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831285)

You know that sounds well until you realise how it would apply to ... shall we say "involuntary donation of organs", and a million other procedures. Once you realise that application you see your argument for what it is : another version of the Stalin's "the goal justifies the means", you know when he proceeded to massacre about 100 million people.

Please think twice about your position. This is not an acceptable position to take. If you really have this position, you should be treated like Josef Mengele, because that's who you are. In theory there would little point in waiting, since you will kill if it's convenient, it's just a matter when it'll become convenient. But of course such can't be proved and we have to wait for people to die.

So please : don't hold this position. It's not reasonable. At all.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831537)

If the nazis were experimenting on the jews and that lead to medical data/treatments is it ethical to use it? The experiments themselves were obviously unethical but that's already done, the only thing standing between doctors and taking advantage of it is a moral code. Besides, you talk as if there's only one side that has moral hangups, imagine a mother suffering a life-threatening medical condition due to her pregnancy. How far into the pregnancy can it be terminated before the Hippocratic Oath takes effect and compel them to protect the unborn? I'd very careful how you phrase that, for example having full access to all medical journals would probably advance the state of medicine, but I doubt you want everyone to have the freedom to read through your journal.

Re:others trying to force their morales on us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831647)

Isn't that how the Nazis justified vivisection?

Ethical challenges? (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830535)

I am sure I am not the only one who is tired of hearing about ethical challenges that come with every small new incremental step in stem cell/cloning research. The issues haven't changed, they are the same as when cloning was first brought to the public spotlight when dolly was cloned; and they are the same as have been discussed in science fiction circles way before that.

Seriously, they freakin' took skin and turned it into another living creature! That is by far the coolest thing I've heard this week, and the only thing you can think of to say about it is something about ethical issues? That's like saying, "I invented artificial intelligence, but I don't know what to do about my ugly computer case, where can I get a nice one?" seriously, this is a problem that, while somewhat interesting, can be solved, is not particularly relevant, and really doesn't need to be discussed here.

Re:Ethical challenges? (3, Interesting)

GrantRobertson (973370) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830807)

In free countries, how did the powerful become powerful? Have they done something you couldn't do?

Often they have done something (or a series of things) that most people wouldn't do, and that many believe one shouldn't do. It is rarely or ever a simple matter of the ones with the power having been the ones who were merely more capable. Free countries still have social norms, standard ethical codes, and even laws that a few choose to ignore. That those few who choose to ignore the norms, codes, and laws sometimes gain power is not an excuse for the rest of us to ignore them as well. An "every man for himself" culture often sounds great until that "every man" happens to be someone who is willing or able to take from you to get what they want.

Re:Ethical challenges? (2, Insightful)

maharb (1534501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830925)

This is just about as unethical as your parents choosing to conceive you. Why does a scientist not have the right to make a human in his lab but a man and a women do have that right? What can be argued is how that created animal is treated after it is created. If it is neglected/abused/treated badly then you can start bitching.

Re:Ethical challenges? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831251)

Sure, but you can become powerful too, without being unethical.

Re:Ethical challenges? (1)

GrantRobertson (973370) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831355)

phantomfive, I definitely agree with you that it is possible to gain power through ethical means. I guess it just seemed to me as if your signature implied that we, the non-powerful, should not complain about those with power if we are not willing to do what they had done to gain their power. A lot of people seem to justify an "any means necessary" approach to gaining power, and your signature seemed to be encouraging that attitude.

Re:Ethical challenges? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830965)

I agree this is pretty mind-blowing. Putting aside for a moment whether to consider the issues "ethical" or something else, there are HUGE issues here either way. We are on the precipice of departing from how we as a species naturally reproduce, potentially jumping from sexual to asexual reproduction within two or three generations! Not only that, but exerting direct control over our own genetic code. It is entirely possible that within a couple hundred years people will look back on us in complete disgust because of all our genetic faults and low average intelligence, beauty, etc.

Hear hear! (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831275)

I have yet to hear an ETHICAL reason why human cloning is wrong. There are certainly genetic issues -- the gene pool as a whole is better off if it's mixed up -- but people seem to freak utterly out at the notion of human cloning. Do they think we're gonna use them for food, or what?

Re:Ethical challenges? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831371)

...but I don't know what to do about my ugly computer case...

I think they can do case transplants [wordpress.com] now

"Controversial laboratory techniques" (2, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830557)

What bullshit. If you support stem cell research (as I do) have the balls to call it what it is...

Re:"Controversial laboratory techniques" (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830663)

So? Guess what it -is- controversial. Some people believe that it is akin to taking your young and killing them for their organs. There is no scientific consensus on when life begins, but most would agree that the thing is a living human whenever the egg is fertilized. Just because you believe otherwise doesn't mean that other people believe the same way you do.

Re:"Controversial laboratory techniques" (3, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830851)

There is no scientific consensus on when life begins, but most would agree that the thing is a living human whenever the egg is fertilized.

It appears we are now on a slippery slope that some of us have been predicting for a long time. From the article: "All you need are somebody's skin cells to create a human baby."

That isn't quite true yet, but it will be soon. The technique these guys are using injects reverted skin cells into an existing embryo, so you still need an embryo to start with. But that's just a temporary thing. At some point we will be able to revert skin cells to zygotes, and at that point all the crazy "life begins at conception therefore abortion is wrong" folks will go really nuts, because the completely nominal line between "ordinary somatic cell" and "living human being" will be entirely erased. Every cell in our bodies will clearly have the potential to become an independent, living human being, just like a zygote made the old fashion way.

Every human society has practised some form of defacto infanticide, and abortion is WAY better than any alternative, and pregnant women are FAR more qualified than anyone else--both on an information-theoretic basis and a moral basis--to decide what happens to their offspring and their body. Ergo, life begins at conception, and abortion is not wrong.

Re:"Controversial laboratory techniques" (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831195)

I can't wait for the new talking points. Scrubbing is murder! Toenails are people too! You know who else had his hair cut? Hitler!

Re:"Controversial laboratory techniques" (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831405)

Those are all dead cells. Bringing them back to life...now that would really throw a wrench into the works.

Re:"Controversial laboratory techniques" (3, Insightful)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831363)

Whether life begins at conception depends entirely on what you mean by "life", and that's a matter for philosophy or religion, not science. Science can never change one's mind about what constitutes life, because life is life by definition.

Whenever necessary, the people who want to believe a certain thing will refine their definitions to suit what they want to believe. Take, for example, the loophole in some laws that forgot to mention that "marriage" must be between a man and a woman that anti-gay folks are trying to close.

While most might "agree that there is a living human at fertilization", the same most would probably not be willing to investigate every single miscarriage as an accidental death, or even potential murder case. Clearly, they're not quite fully "life", both morally and logistically.

Re:"Controversial laboratory techniques" (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831347)

Read my post again, because apparently you didn't pick up the meaning the first time...

Re:"Controversial laboratory techniques" (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830967)

RTFA. They are doing nothing unethical. This is about the same as cloning, just a different method.

Now if they can figure out how (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830567)

To clone the organs inside the cloned skin. A bunch of mouse skins running around is just too creepy.

Aspies burnt to death (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830585)

Aspies ase retarded bastards who are obsessed with linux and slashdot. now it is time to burn them to death with Windows 8.

Controversial? (5, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830623)

I really don't understand how this experiment could be seen as controversial, as the cloning effort was to prove that an adult's cells could be reprogrammed to form any type of tissue, as opposed to harvesting our own young, which is clearly a practice with ethical question marks all over it. The focus was not cloning. We can do cloning well enough now. The technology already exists. What this research does mean is a glimpse into a future with no waiting lists for donor organs, no harvesting from the dead and far fewer rejection issues for new organs, as they would be your own tissue, from your own cells. Good stuff.

Re:Controversial? (2, Insightful)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830679)

The problem is some spirituals, such as Christians, believe cloning is like playing God, and should be eschewed by all means.

Re:Controversial? (4, Interesting)

nawcom (941663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830809)

The problem is some spirituals, such as Christians, believe cloning is like playing God, and should be eschewed by all means.

In that sense, we are in fact playing a role of their "God". Why don't they pray to their god and tell him to finally show himself in a physical sense and then we can discuss what his little rules are regarding this. This reminds me of that quote, "God did not create man in his own image, rather, man created God in his own image." Science is becoming God.

Re:Controversial? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830859)

So is putting someone on a life support machine. Or transplanting an organ.

Oh and don't lump all Christians with the nutters you have in the US. Every one I've met has been very pro stem cell research because it potentially saves a lot of lives.

Re:Controversial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830911)

Actually, Christians have been very against embryonic stem cell research, hence all the controversy. Some still think it's all about embryonic stem cells, and have never heard of reprogrammed skin cells.

Now I'm a Christian myself, but I don't have problems with embryonic stem cell research, nor the similarly controversial abortions (reasonable abortions that is; I won't bother you with my definition of reasonable).

Re:Controversial? (1)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831025)

Those don't nearly compare to the act of "creating life" as they put it. Or even worse, a "soulless life." These are their concerns.

Personally I'm a Christian -- conservative as well. This was in no way an attack on right wing Christians. Many other spirituals and Christians feel the same way about "creating life," and I admire them. But I feel differently. If this research can save lives, it's alright in my book. I'm not sure I want to see someone try to clone a full human though. That's kind of creepy.

Re:Controversial? (2, Insightful)

Belisarivs (526071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831427)

It's more complicated than that. There are those who believe in genetic diversification, and see genetic manipulation as a threat to that, much as they see GM crops along those lines. This is more of a niche ethical argument, but it's out there.

Additionally, and this is the ethical argument that Charles Krauthammer, (hardly a "spiritualist" and he's pro-choice), that it becomes an ethical dilemma if we create life simply to destroy it. At that point, there is a breakdown in the fundamental moral underpinnings of our concept of "natural law" and fundamental rights, and you encourage a very real threat from an ethical slippery slope.

One of the common arguments against cloning and genetic modification from Christians (although it is espoused by non-Christians as well) that society will become increasingly intolerant of "defects", and that people considered such (like those with Down-syndrome, or even physical defects) will be considered "sub-human".

Lastly, there is a worry that the "human" status of those cloned, despite being human, will be less than we attribute to those we consider "human".

Our "enlightened" view of humanity took a long time to achieve. A lot of people (myself included) feel that we are pushing the limits of our shared morality is capable of dealing with. The fact that a lot of people aren't even considering the implications of these scientific advancements don't do much to alleviate that concern.

Re:Controversial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830829)

What is the difference between harvesting from an embryo created from skin cells and harvesting from an embryo created using in vitro fertilization? Both have the potential to develop into full human beings.

Re:Controversial? (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831037)

What is the difference between harvesting from an embryo created from skin cells and harvesting from an embryo created using in vitro fertilization? Both have the potential to develop into full human beings.

AFAIK the development of embryos for harvest is not the focus of this research. It was a proof of concept on the versatility of adult stem cells. From TFA:

The approach has taken off because it sidesteps the cloning and embryo-destroying techniques traditionally used to derive true embryonic stem-cell lines. However, one big question has been whether reprogrammed cells are as versatile as true embryonic cells, and whether they can form all of the cells in an embryo. Using reprogrammed cells to create live offspring with normal organs and body tissues has been considered an important test. Chinese scientists now have shown that this is possible in mice.

Stem cell lines are to be used directly in therapy. Not for cloning 'body bags' of spare parts.

Re:Controversial? (3, Informative)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831207)

Read the article more closely; it's not about cloning at all. The reprogrammed stem cells were injected into already-developing embryos to create artificial chimeras -- mice that contained cells from the donor line, not just the parents'. The intent of the research is to achieve true cloning, but they still have to get past the hurdle of starting the embryonic development. However, using this technique to grow organs, since the organs will grow as part of the embryos' normal development, will be "harvesting our own young" -- taking normal embryos, usurping them to grow organs with another genotype, and then removing them for use as transplants. Getting organs to grow in vitro is a much more complex and daunting prospect.

Re:Controversial? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831301)

Well, how would it make an article, and create readers, if it weren't controversial.

Welcome to the media machine. Prepare to be extremised, and then ripped apart.

Who tagged this "Cloverfield"?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830637)

Seriously, was that you , Taco? Oh, no, sorry; you would have tagged it penisgrownfromskincells. :=========D

The question keep becoming more complex... (4, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830639)

Soon enough, there won't be a single, simple, answer to the classic question

how is babby formed [somethingawful.com]

pups or it didn't happen... (2, Funny)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830647)

If I hear one more "I turned stem cells into X" story without proof - real proof! - I think we're going to need to start posting these things under "comedy".

kulakovich

Re:pups or it didn't happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831229)

Yeah, I totally agree! We should be able to download one of these baby mice ourselves, all in the name of proof!

Re:pups or it didn't happen... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831411)

Well, your parents turned stem cells into you. Should we post that under comedy too? ^^

Controversy? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830653)

Getting stem cells from "safe" places is one thing that should not be controversial. Now, doing full clones is a different matter. But if is so easy, just take a few skin cells and could get my own (baby) clone what use will be done for that could lead to some controversy, or at least some redefinition on what is life, what is human (and probably what is soul for the ones that keep thinking that there is one by then), or even what are newborn rights.

so wait (4, Funny)

sonciwind (970454) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830687)

Scientists now how the power to turn people in to baby chickens? Delicious!

More importantly (1)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831277)

More importantly, we are on the threshhold of turning chickens into eggs, thus make the chicken-egg question one of quantum superposition. The chicken can be, both chicken and egg, and many chickens and many eggs *brian explodes*

Aspies burnt to death (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830729)

Aspies ase retarded bastards who are obsessed with linux and slashdot. now it is time to burn them to death with MacOS X.

Implication (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830743)

Think of the implications this could have. I can have my giant army of penguins in no time! Mwuhahahahahaaa!

Well how else are we to keep up with...... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830787)

.......... Computers outsmarting man [slashdot.org]

Aspies burnt to death (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830803)

Aspies ase retarded bastards who are obsessed with linux and slashdot. now it is time to burn them to death with FreeBSD.

C'mon, we need prices (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830819)

How much would a Jennifer Love Hewitt with no inhibitions that doesn't pork up when she gets close to 30 run?

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830833)

OMG WE CAN REPRO MJ!!!!!

Re:YES! (2, Funny)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830889)

Sorry, but there weren't any actual skin cells left there.

Not that MJ... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831135)

This is Slashdot after all... [wikipedia.org]

Although... where are they going to get THOSE cells is beyond me. Unless he is referring to the surrogate. [wikipedia.org]

Is it viable cloning though? (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830835)

The summary is trying to bring up classic fears of cloning. However just because they raised pups from skin cells does not mean they can raise offspring from those cells that have a legitimate chance of living full lives. If they are indeed starting from adult skin cells, then they are starting with essentially old material; mammalian cells (excluding gametes and their progenitor cells) generally only can divide a certain number of times before they are no longer really viable for growth.

So before we see people start banging the drum over "ZOMG! Teh humanz r cloning!" we need to see if these mouse clones are actually viableclonesof their parents.

About as viable as a mouse can get... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831161)

From TFA:

Of 37 stem-cell lines created by reprogramming, three yielded 27 live offspring. One of these pups, a seven-week-old male named "Tiny," mated with a female and produced young of its own.

Any more viable and he would have an never-ending copyright extension attached to him.

Re:Is it viable cloning though? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831455)

Yup. From the article:

Shaorong Gao and colleagues from the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing got four live births, including one mouse pup that made it to healthy adulthood. Their results were published online in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Also, one of the mice mated and had offspring.

Draw A Distinction (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830839)

In his book 'Laws of Form', G.S.Brown stated, (from memory) "draw a distinction and a universe comes into being". His book was widely panned and he was seen as markedly eccentric but the idea of a universe coming into being when a distinction is drawn is useful. Our moral code is necessarily somewhat arbitrary and plastic, but we need an agreed upon moral code if we're to govern ourselves. Democracy should ensure the greatest possible personal freedom under the rule of law. Where you go from there is up for grabs. I believe in the family unit as paramount. A man and a woman raising a family is my personal kernel, for others, my values might seem ridiculous or even criminal but that doesn't vitiate the need for a value system that carries moral weight. From my value system cloning is immoral but stem cell research isn't, from my value system abortion is a woman's right for others not. Ultimately, in the face of all the choices and dilemmas, experience and common sense shows democracy and the rule of law to be the best available form of government. Right now people like me who value the family unit as the heart of democracy are still in the majority although the line is fuzzy on stem cell research, the line on cloning isn't, cloning technology should be closely scrutinized and regulated.

Guess what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831553)

I think your family should be closely scrutinized and regulated.. The way things are going in the Western world, it looks like I'll get my wish.

It has ALL been done before! (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28830849)

God did it when he made Eve from the rib [cells] of Adam. This is nothing new or remarkable. But, because God did it, we shouldn't... just like flight and other technologies man has managed to understand the develop. Have I said that right? What say you "Religious Right"?

Aspies burnt to death (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830855)

Aspies ase retarded bastards who are obsessed with linux and slashdot. now it is time to burn them to death with MS-DOS.

Aspies burnt to death (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28830957)

Aspies are retarded bastards who are obsessed with linux and slashdot. now it is time to burn them to death with GNU/Hurd.

No embryo created from stem cells... (1)

stewartwb (1606111) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831003)

RTFA, anyone? In their study published in the journal Nature, scientists led by Qi Zhou of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing described how they injected reprogrammed mouse cells into an early-stage embryo to see whether the introduced cells contributed to the tissue of the eventual fetus. Of 37 stem-cell lines created by reprogramming, three yielded 27 live offspring. One of these pups, a seven-week-old male named "Tiny," mated with a female and produced young of its own. How does injecting cells into an embryo, then verifying that the cells were incorporated into the adult animal, possibly constitute "[using] the resulting cells to create live mouse offspring."

Conservative response (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831033)

Every skin-cell is precious and has the potential to become a living, breathing, tax-paying member of society.

Cliches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28831113)

Is this where "That makes my skin crawl" came from?

Potentially dystopian. (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831151)

I don't see any problem with these researches. Choosing characteristics of your children is not a big deal too.

Even so, I can't help but fear when I think there might be a future filled with genetically engineered people where "the imperfect" (our average joe) will have miserable lives, if allowed to live at all. I believe there are many fiction works depicting that scenario. Unfortunately, I didn't get in contact with any of those.

Maybe people like enough of the old way of having children, maybe not. In that case there might be a future where sex is used exclusively as a way of having pleasure and people would be infertile in that regard.

Every cell is sacred! (3, Funny)

andersen (10283) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831497)

Every cell is sacred! When a cell is wasted, God gets quite irate.

Misleading summary, of course (4, Informative)

Jiro (131519) | more than 4 years ago | (#28831611)

Though part of that is the fault of the original article.

In their study published in the journal Nature, scientists led by Qi Zhou of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing described how they injected reprogrammed mouse cells into an early-stage embryo to see whether the introduced cells contributed to the tissue of the eventual fetus.

In other words, they did not take a skin cell and turn it into a baby mouse. They took a skin cell and decided to see if an already existing mouse embryo would accept the stem cells created from it.

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