October 28, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog


3 min read

If you’ve been paying attention to the stem cell world, you’ll remember Woo Suk Hwang, who nearly derailed the future of stem cell research by very publically proclaiming that he had made human embryonic stem cells by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). No, this has nothing to do with Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s report of successful generation of SCNT hESCs last year (reported by Paul at https://www.ipscell.com/tag/shoukhrat-mitalipov/). The difference is that Shoukhrat really did make human SCNT ESCs. Hwang did not.  He claimed that he had …Read More

3 min read

There have been many interesting developments in stem cells in 2013, but to me the biggest event by far was the first ever successful somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)-based human therapeutic cloning. This approach generated apparently genetically normal human embryonic stem cells (hESC), an astonishing accomplishment. There are two kinds of human cloning: therapeutic and reproductive. The latter is making an actual new person with an identical genome to an existing person. The latter has never been achieved, but some of us are worried it …Read More

3 min read

De-extinction is big right now and some of the extinct target creatures are big too like the woolly mammoth. “Let’s bring back these extinct creatures”, say proponents. Wouldn’t it be cool? I have to admit seeing a woolly mammoth, mastodon, or saber tooth tiger would be cool, but such efforts would not be without consequences and most of them would be profoundly negative. Cloning mammoths, for example, would be a selfish act of hubris by humans. Still a team has been working to make …Read More

2 min read

In late 2010, Nicholas Wade, then a frequent science writer for the New York Times, wrote a frankly nasty piece on the stem cell field that was insulting and oversimplistic. Now today we have yet another piece in the NYT by Wade on stem cells, and he mostly makes a mess of it again, with one exception. Starting with the good news, Wade’s perspectives on the difficulty of science reporting on changeable, emotional issues like stem cells and cloning are insightful and valuable. I …Read More