Tag Archives: Scripps

Mice created from skin cells

From Cox Newspapers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego have created healthy adult mice out of mouse skin cells — no sperm, no egg. Just skin.

The feat, described in the scientific journal Nature this week, was intended to prove that adult cells can be reprogrammed backward in their development, until they have all the desirable characteristics of embryonic stem cells.

According to Gerard McGill, a medical ethicist at Duquesne University’s Center for Healthcare Ethics, this means the ability to treat diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, hearing loss, or spinal cord damage with a patient’s own cells is within reach.

“It proves that reprogrammed cells are equivalent to embryonic stem cells,” McGill said. “Treatments are at least 15 or 20 years away, but they are reasonable.”

Reprogramming mouse skin cells to grow into complete mice required advances in mouse genetics, genetic engineering, stem cell biology and reproductive technology.

The scientists started using standard fetal mouse skin cells. They then genetically engineered viruses to carry genes for four key proteins believed to be able to reprogram a cell’s behavior. The viruses infected the skin cells, forcing them to produce the compounds.

The scientists hand-selected cells that had the most obvious stem-cell-like traits.

The cells were eventually transferred into fertile female mice.

Two of the embryos survived to become fertile adults.