MadSci Network: Cell Biology

Re: Can cells from deceased people be cloned?

Area: Cell Biology
Posted By: Rolf Marteijn, Grad Student, dept of Foodscience -> Bioprocesengineering and dept. of Virology, Wageningen Agricultural University
Date: Mon Apr 28 21:38:31 1997
Area of science: Cell Biology
ID: 859246946.Cb

Hi Arthur,

Well, these question are seen on the internet a lot these days. There are even 'companies' that offer tailor-made clones. Of course it's fake, but if you like, have a look at e.g. Dreamtech.

Back to the question. The folks in the UK used a live nucleus in a living cell to transplant. All of the nuclei in cells in dear Albert Einstein are dead and gone, and therefore, their way of cloning is out of the picture.

Of course some of Albert's hairs are still around and they may contain DNA. However, to extract all his DNA, without inducing small errors, in the correct order and then clone it in a denucleated human egg is practically impossible. If you want to know why, have a look at the Human Genome Program. Many scientists all over the world spend many years to just sequence (part of) the human DNA. And while doing so they introduced small errors, which are nowadays inevitable.

So the answer to your question is NO. However, if someone has died just a few hours, many of the cells are still alive and may be collected for nucleus transplants (=cloning).

Interesting links: NATURE, featuring the original paper
New Scientist special Report
Yahoo's cloning section



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