Until now, animal cloning and the production of embryonic stem cell lines by somatic cell nuclear transfer have relied on introducing nuclei into meiotic oocytes. In contrast, attempts at somatic cell nuclear transfer into fertilized interphase zygotes have failed. As a result, it has generally been assumed that unfertilized human oocytes will be required for the generation of tailored human embryonic stem cell lines from patients by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Here we report, however, that, unlike interphase zygotes, mouse zygotes temporarily arrested in mitosis can support somatic cell reprogramming, the production of embryonic stem cell lines and the full-term development of cloned animals. Thus, human zygotes and perhaps human embryonic blastomeres may be useful supplements to human oocytes for the creation of patient-derived human embryonic stem cells.
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