“Do You Have More Information on Human Cloning?”

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I am looking to inform my class on the steps to cloning a human and also the most recent experiments done in this field of work. I have read your articles, but is there any additional information you could provide me?

Below is the recent announcement by the first group to publicly say they are actively going to seek to clone a human. There is no published results from any laboratory anywhere in the world. The potato is just a little too hot yet. The story from the BBC may also provide some additional links for you.

The article confirms some of the scientific and ethical problems I have mentioned elsewhere.

Respectfully,

Ray Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 17:08 GMT
Cloned human planned ‘by 2003’

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1144000/1144694.stm

By BBC News Online’s Alex Kirby

A private consortium of scientists plans to clone a human being within the next two years.

The group says it will use the technique only for helping infertile couples with no other opportunity to become parents.

It says the technology will resemble that used to clone animals, and will be made widely available.

One member said the group hoped to produce the world’s first baby clone within 12 to 24 months.

It was founded by an Italian physician, Dr Severino Antinori, whose work includes trying to help post-menopausal women to become pregnant.

A spokesman for the group is Panos Zavos, professor of reproductive physiology at the University of Kentucky, US.

No alternative

He said it would “develop guidelines with which the technology cannot be indiscriminately applied for anybody who wants to clone themselves.”

As with animal cloning, he said, the technology would involve injecting genetic material from the father into the mother’s egg, which would then be implanted in her womb.

“The effort will be to assist couples that have no other alternatives to reproduce and want to have their own biological child, not somebody else’s eggs or sperm,” Professor Zavos said.

He said he believed human cloning was achievable. It could at first cost $50,000 or more, but he hoped that could come down to around the cost of in vitro fertilisation, about $10,000 to $20,000.

Professor Zavos said he was well aware of the ethical dimensions of the project.

“The world has to come to grips [with the fact] that the cloning technology is almost here,” he said. “The irony about it is that there are so many people that are attempting to do it, and they could be doing it even as we
speak in their garages.

“It is time for us to develop the package in a responsible manner, and make the package available to the world. I think I have faith in the world that they will handle it properly.”

‘Irresponsible’ plan

But the plans of Professor Zavos and his colleagues received an unenthusiastic response in the UK.

Dr Harry Griffin is assistant director of the Roslin Institute, Scotland, which successfully cloned Dolly the sheep.

He told BBC News Online: “It would be wholly irresponsible to try to clone a human being, given the present state of the technology.

“The success rate with animal cloning is about one to two per cent in the published results, and I think lower than that on average. I don’t know anyone working in this area who thinks the rate will easily be improved.

“There are many cases where the cloned animal dies late in pregnancy or soon after birth.

“The chances of success are so low it would be irresponsible to encourage people to think there’s a real prospect. The risks are too great for the woman, and of course for the child.

“I remain opposed to the idea of cloning human beings. Even if it were possible and safe—which it’s not—it wouldn’t be in the interest of the child to be a copy of its parent.”

Tom Horwood, of the Catholic Media Office in London, told BBC News Online: “A lot of our objections come down to questions of technique.

‘Morally abhorrent’

“But beyond that, cloning human beings is inconsistent with their dignity, and involves seeing them as a means, not an end.

“The scientists involved in the project are planning a conference in Rome to explain their plans.

“I don’t think you’ll start getting lots of papal pronouncements just because they’re meeting in Rome.

“The reaction in the Vatican will be the same as everywhere else—that the project is morally abhorrent and ethically very dubious.”

Dr. Ray Bohlin

Raymond G. Bohlin is Vice President of Vision Outreach at Probe Ministries. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.S., zoology), North Texas State University (M.S., population genetics), and the University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., Ph.D., molecular biology). He is the co-author of the book The Natural Limits to Biological Change, served as general editor of Creation, Evolution and Modern Science, co-author of Basic Questions on Genetics, Stem Cell Research and Cloning (The BioBasics Series), and has published numerous journal articles. Dr. Bohlin was named a Research Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture in 1997, 2000 and 2012.

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