The revolutionary discovery that any cell can be rewound to a pre-embryonic state remarkably easily could usher in new therapies and cloning techniques
A LITTLE stress is all it took to make new life from old. Adult cells have been given the potential to turn into any type of body tissue just by tweaking their environment. This simple change alone promises to revolutionise stem cell medicine.
Yet New Scientist has also learned that this technique may have already been used to make a clone. "The implication is that you can very easily, from a drop of blood and simple techniques, create a perfect identical twin," says Charles Vacanti at Harvard Medical School, co-leader of the team involved.
Details were still emerging as New Scientist went to press, but the principles of the new technique were outlined in mice in work published this week. The implications are huge, and have far-reaching applications in regenerative medicine, cancer treatment and human cloning.