According to a paper published in the journal Stem Cells, an American group has succeeded in inserting cell nuclei from human skin cells into human enucleated oocytes and to stimulate these new cells to undergo cell division in the laboratory. This may constitute the first step on the way towards cloning human cells. Many issues relating to the method employed remain unclear at present.
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) already expressed its scepticism regarding the process of 'therapeutic cloning' or 'research cloning' when it released a statement on the issue of stem cell research in the autumn of 2006. Both for scientific reasons, and because this method calls for a large number of eggs from young donors, the DFG has given clear priority to research into reprogramming methods. Developments since late 2006 have confirmed the DFG's stance. Research done by American and Japanese groups, for example, has shown that it is possible to convert human skin cells back into cells similar to stem cells by treating them with reprogramming factors.
The DFG is also very critical of recent findings in the field of 'research cloning in the human system.' Experiments of this kind are prohibited in Germany, as is importing cloned cell lines. The DFG has no intention of changing its current position.
Rather, the DFG continues to support research into the reprogramming of adult and embryonic stem cells.