Stem Cells and Human Cloning



Much (but not all) of the following information on stem cells, what they are and what they do, comes from the National Institutes of Health website over the years – ( Quotations in #1 below are from the NIH website on stem cells (Stem Cell Basics).

1. What are stem cells and where are they found in the body?

“Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.”

“Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics. First, they are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity. Second, under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. In some organs, such as the gut and bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues. In some adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, discrete populations of adult stem cells generate
replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease.”

2. How are adult stem cells used to help people?

The National Marrow Donor Program ( uses human bone marrow and Viacord ( works with stem cells from new born umbilical cord blood to help thousands of people each year on over 80 diseases including leukemias, Lymphomas, cancers and much more.

3. What diseases are currently being treated by human embryonic stem cells?

There have been numerous clinical trials, but no final conclusions. Over the past 20 years, researchers have created numerous embryonic stem cell lines. They have seen some positive results with “macular degeneration” and epilepsy and have been helpful with the correction of disease-causing mutations. They have not, however, found cures or long-term treatments for people with various diseases or conditions. – two decades of embryonic stem cells: a historical overview

4. what has human cloning to do with the stem cell

Human cloning is the term used by scientists to describe the process of creating new life by making duplicates of biological material. The cloning technique used to clone Dolly the sheep is called “somatic cell nuclear transplantation”. This is the same technique for cloning a human being. The process involves removing the nucleus of an unfertilized egg and replacing it with the nucleus of a somatic cell. Skin cell is a somatic cell and contains in its nucleus the 46 chromosomes that you received from your mother (23 chromosomes) and your father (23 chromosomes) that make you unique.] The unfertilized egg with the now transplanted nucleus is stimulated by an electrical stimulus to make it start to divide and
grow and if it does begin to grow, it is a live human being. As Frankensteinian and unnatural as this is, a new human life will be created by human cloning. Researchers in Illinois seek human cloning because they know that cloning will produce human embryos and they can take the stem cells from these embryos (which will kill these new human lives.)

Prepared by Ralph Rivera with Illinois Right to Life Action.