Abstract It is remarkable that mammalian somatic cell nuclei can form whole individuals if they are transferred to enucleated oocytes. Advancements in nuclear transfer technology can now be applied for genetic improvement and increase of farm animals, rescue of endangered species, and assisted reproduction and tissue engineering in humans. Since July 1998, more than 200 calves have been produced by nuclear transfer of somatic cell nuclei in Japan, but half of them were stillborn or died within several months of parturition. Morphologic abnormalities have also been observed in cloned calves and embryonic stem cell-derived mice. In this review, we discuss the present situation and problems with animal cloning and the possibility for its application to human medicine.