Ever since Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996, scientists have been trying to do the same thing with human cells. Using the same technique, scientists say they've finally accomplished the feat with adult cells.
"What we show for the first time is that you can actually take skin cells, from a middle-aged 35-year-old male, but also from an elderly, 75-year-old male" and use the DNA to create tissue with cells of an exact match, said co-author of the study Robert Lanza.
The work was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
Last year, the technique was successfully used with infant cells, but in order to create tissue in a lab that could treat adult diseases, such as Alzheimer's, scientists needed to know if the technique would work with adult cells.
"I'm happy to hear that our experiment was verified and shown to be genuine," said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a development biologist at Oregon Health and Science University, who led the 2013 study.
The work confirmed that starting with a quality human egg is key to the process. The researchers replaced the original DNA in an unfertilized egg with the donor DNA, and then cultured the cells in a lab dish. The stem cells, which were an exact match to the donor's DNA, can then be turned into various tissue types.
Even though full human cloning is a long way off, the report may raise an equal amount of concern and excitement.
"Certainly this kind of technology could be abused by some kind of rogue scientist," Paul Knoepfler of the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, told NPR.