SCNT is an acronym for Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, an intimating-sounding procedure, but one that holds tremendous promise for the future of research. SCNT is a process by which scientists can replicate a piece of DNA from any cell in the body – a muscle or skin cell, for instance – and then insert it into an unfertilized human egg to grow stem cells, in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of cell development.
SCNT also goes by the name, “therapeutic cloning”, yet it has nothing to do with “reproductive cloning”, whatsoever. In fact, despite the fact that SCNT enjoys broad support across the scientific community, there is no reputable scientist who would support reproductive cloning. In SCNT, there is no fertilized egg, no implantation, and certainly no pregnancy involved.
What makes SCNT particularly exciting and potentially beneficial is that it can create a genetic match to a donor in need of future stem cell therapies. When combined with human embryonic stem cell research, SCNT can be used to create innovative treatments to disease and, at the very least, understand how cells develop.