Human stem cell lines from genetically flawed human embryos have been created by US scientists.

The team that produced the mutant lines at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago believes the cell lines will help shed light on genetic diseases and could be used to test new treatments.

The team is the first to announce the creation of human embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines from embryos with specific genetic diseases, However, other groups around the world have also been racing to develop mutant ESCs, and New Scientist has learned that one group in the UK has already created a line for cystic fibrosis.

The US cell lines were produced from embryos left over from in-vitro fertilisation procedures. The embryos were discarded after genetic screening revealed they had defects. The immortal lines generated include several for diseases caused by single gene mutations, including some muscle and blood disorders.

This article continues in The New Scientist

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