Chinese scientists have bred mice from cells that might offer an alternative to human embryonic stem cells, producing the most definitive evidence yet that the technique could help sidestep many of the explosive ethical issues engulfing the controversial field but raising alarm that the advance could lead to human cloning and designer babies.
In papers published online Thursday by two scientific journals, separate teams of researchers from Beijing and Shanghai reported that they had for the first time created virtual genetic duplicates of mice using skin cells from adult animals that had been coaxed into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells.
The findings were welcomed by supporters and opponents of human embryonic stem cell research as a long-sought vital step in proving that the cells could be as useful as embryonic cells for studying and curing many illnesses.
The results co
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