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Scientists have perfected a way of making embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryos from which they derive
The discovery of a technique to extract stem cells without impairing the embryos could remove a major hurdle facing scientists who are trying to develop treatments for diseases such as diabetes and motor neurone disease.
In work carried out in mice, the researchers let fertilised eggs divide for two to three days until they formed a ball of eight cells. They then removed one of the cells and cultured it in a dish. They found it grew into a mass of cells, some of which turned into ES cells. The remainder of the cells were reimplanted into surrogate mothers and allowed to develop normally. In 48 attempts, foetuses developed in 29 mothers, a success rate comparable to that seen in surrogate fertility clinics, the researchers claim.