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Researchers Clone Mice from Skin Stem Cells

Skin may be readily accessible source of high-efficiency cloning material

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have cloned mice from skin stem cells isolated from hair follicles, suggesting a new abundant source of cloning material, according to a report published online Feb. 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Peter Mombaerts, M.D., Ph.D., from the Rockefeller University in New York City, and colleagues examined the cloning success rates of various cells isolated from skin including pluripotent stem cells isolated from the bulge region of the hair follicle.

The investigators found that the success rates of nuclear transfer for different types of cells, including keratinocyte stem cells and transit-amplifying cells, were similar but were consistently higher for males than for females. Cloning efficiencies ranged from 1 to 6 percent per blastocyst.

"Our findings reveal skin as a source of readily accessible stem cells, the nuclei of which can be reprogrammed to the pluripotent state by exposure to the cytoplasm of unfertilized oocytes," the authors write. "Their accessibility and relative quiescence may make them more promising than adult mesenchymal stem cells, or neonatal neural stem cells."

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