Sometimes we hate mice, but sometimes we love them.

You can now own a mouse with an immune system that’s identical to yours. Why would you want to do that? So that drugs and medical therapies can be tested on the mouse first, before they’re used on you. Some researchers call them "avatars, like the virtual characters in movies and video games.

While these "mouse models" are mostly used for general research, companies are beginning to personalize them to help with an individual patient’s medical treatment.

One problem: This avatar can cost tens of thousands of dollars and it won’t be covered by insurance.
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Scientists in Korea have announced that they have cloned a dog for the first time?an afghan puppy. It took a thousand tries for this to happen, so it will not become the normal way to get a new puppy. While dogs are strictly pets in the US, they are bred to eat in many Asian countries. While cloned meat is too expensive to produce at the moment, it may be the protein-rich food of the future. So far, studies show that it’s safe to eat.

Also, milk from cloned cattle appears to be safe for human consumption. Scientists in the US and Japan, where raising cattle the normal way has gotten very expensive, say that cloning could be used to increase food production, especially in developing countries. It?s already being planned as the way to produce protein for long space travel.read more

The U.K. has given Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute inScotland, the scientist who created Dolly the sheep (theworld’s first cloned mammal), a license to clone humanembryos for medical research. The clones will be used tocreate stem cells for research into degenerative motorneuron disease.

The plan is to extract stem cells from patients with thedisease and implant them in unfertilized eggs to createcloned embryos. The ultimate aim is to grow the nerve cellsthat transmit electrical messages from the brain and spinalcord to the muscles. While there’s no possibility, at thistime, of implanting the nerve cells into patients, thecloning will hopefully help to develop future treatments forMND.
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Mice are being grown with human brain cells in their brains.Pigs are being raised that have human blood. Sheep withhuman hearts and livers have been created in a Nevadalaboratory. These creatures are called chimeras,human-animal hybrids.

In Europe, China and Japan, even more complex chimeras arebeing created in laboratories that are racing to use thesestrange beings to create radical new treatments that areexpected to revolutionize medicine.

Chimeras make it possible for scientists to study organs asthey function, rather than in artificial laboratorysettings, and represent a tremendous medical advance.
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