SEOUL, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- South Korean scientists announced Thursday they had successfully created the world's first mature, cloned human embryos.
The scientists said in a statement their goal is not to clone humans but to advance understanding of the causes and treatment of disease.
But the work makes the birth of a cloned baby suddenly more feasible, the New York Times said.
The work was led by Dr. Woo Suk Hwang and Dr. Shin Yong Moon of Seoul National University and will be published Friday in the journal Science. The paper provides a detailed description of how to create human embryos by cloning.
It iswhat patients with diseases like Parkinson's and diabetes had been waiting for -- the start of so-called therapeutic cloning.
The idea is to clone a patients cells to make embryonic stem cells that are an exact genetic match to the patient. Then those cells, patients hope, could be turned into replacement tissue to treat or cure their disease without provoking rejection from the body's immune system.