Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Human Clones Genetically Viable? Could Be

"Research Breakthrough: Human Clones May Be Genetically Viable"
Wired (February 2, 2009 )

"For the first time since Hwang Woo-Suk's cloned stem cells were revealed as fakes, human cloning — for medical purposes, or even for reproduction — appears to be a realistic possibility.

" 'We show for the first time that the same genes turned on in normal human embryos are the same genes turned on in human clones,' said Robert Lanza, scientific director of Advanced Cell Technologies and co-author of a study published Monday in Cloning and Stem Cells.

"Lanza's team inserted human cell nuclei into hollowed-out egg cells from both humans and animals, then stimulated them into development, a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), or more informally, cloning. When compared to a normal human embryo produced through in vitro fertilization, the animal-human hybrids didn't develop normally, but the human-human cloned embryos displayed many of the genetic characteristics of healthy development.

"The research is the first step toward therapeutic cloning — making embryonic stem cells from a patient's own DNA capable of replacing diseased tissue, failing organs and even lost limbs. And, theoretically, the same technique could be used to produce a cloned person...."

This is a big deal, from several points of view.

It's possible that the sort of "therapeutic cloning" described in this Wired article would be an ethically-acceptable way of "replacing diseased tissue, failing organs and even lost limbs."

I'm a bit concerned about where this sort of research could be headed, though.

I discussed my concerns in "Human Clones Possible: Don't Worry, They're Just for Parts and Research" (February 2, 2009), and why I'm so passionate about the subject in "Medical Ethics and Human Experimentation: Why I Take it Personally" (February 3, 2009). Both posts are in another blog of mine, A Catholic Citizen in America.
This doesn't sound very apathetic. What gives?

The Lemming explains himself in another post.

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