Genetic Engineering

How do you clone?

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April 13, 2015 12:09PM


Eggs are coaxed to mature in a culture dish. Each has a remnant egg cell called the polar body and cumulus cells from the ovary clinging to it. 2

While an egg is held still with a pipette, a needle is used to drill through the zona pellucida, removing a plug. 3

After ejecting the zona plug, the needle is inserted back in the egg through the hole to withdraw and discard the polar body and the egg's genetic material. 4

A cumulus cell from another egg is taken up into the needle. Cells called fibroblasts (or their nuclei) can also be used in this step. 5

The cumulus cell is injected deep into the egg that has been stripped of its genetic material. 6

The injected egg is exposed to a mixture of chemicals and growth factors designed to activate it to divide. 7

After roughly 24 hours, the activated egg begins dividing. The cells contain genetic material only from the injected cumulus cell. 8

By the fourth or fifth day, a hollow ball of roughly 100 cells has formed. It holds a clump of cells called the inner cell mass that contains stem cells. 9

The blastocyst is broken open, and the inner cell mass is grown in a culture dish to yield stem cells. 10

The stem cells, in turn, can be coaxed to grow into a variety of cells that might one day be injected into patients.