Published online 24 September 2008 | Nature 455, 441 (2008) | doi:10.1038/455441d

News in Brief

Australian clinic gets permit to clone stem cells

The in vitro fertilization clinic Sydney IVF has received Australia's first licence to conduct therapeutic cloning. The centre's team will be one of a handful of groups worldwide trying to achieve the feat.

In therapeutic cloning, also known as somatic-cell nuclear transfer, DNA from a patient's cell is introduced into an unfertilized egg. When the egg develops into an embryo, scientists extract stem cells and try to create an embryonic-stem-cell line that is a genetic match of the patient.

The licence provides for use of 7,200 human eggs over the next 3 years. Most other groups that have tried and failed have had only 20–30 eggs. Julia Schaft, who will lead the group, says it should be able to use at least 3,500 "clinically unsuitable" eggs from the 20,000 total the clinic collects each year. 

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