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Q: What is research cloning?

A: Research cloning refers to the production of clonal embryos for scientific investigation. The nucleus of a cell of an existing animal or person is inserted into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed, and the resulting entity is stimulated so that it starts developing into an embryo. Embryonic stem cells are then derived from that clonal embryo.

Research cloning is also called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or nuclear transfer. Older terms that are still used, though infrequently, are therapeutic cloning and embryo cloning.

Q: What's the difference between "reproductive cloning" and "research cloning?"

A: The cloning procedure is identical up to the stage at which a clonal embryo is either used for research purposes, or implanted in the womb of a female animal or a woman. See the discussion of reproductive cloning.

Q: Has research cloning been successful?

In a number of mammalian species, clonal embryos have been produced and embryonic stem cells derived from then. Research cloning has not been successful in human beings. The successes reported in...