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Should We Bridge the Animal & Human Cloning Divide? | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » General » Veterinary
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Admin Nov 12 '19

Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, was born in 1997. A council on bioethics called by then-President Bush, and an emergency report by the National Academies, both published reports deeming that the technology was unsafe and should be banned, even for research or therapy. Yet, over the past 15 years, both animal and human genetics research has gotten so advanced that scientists are regularly creating animal clones and close to being able to create human clones.  In fact, these scientific advances have made it possible for companies to confidently charge customers to clone their pets and for Chinese scientists to successfully clone monkeys.


Where the science stands currently, to create human confident human cloning, it would like likely require a significant number of failed human pregnancies; so many that it’s hard to imagine ethics committees allowing the research to happen. Stem cell biologist Yi Zhang, whose work solved the blocked gene problem, pointed out to Tech Review that the process of creating just two long-tailed macaque monkeys required 63 surrogate mothers and 417 eggs, all of which resulted in just six pregnancies.


According to the Center for Genetics and Society, any form of cloning is banned in 46 countries, and reproductive cloning (cloning specifically to create full-grown humans) is banned in another 32, leaving open the option to clone human cells for therapeutic uses like growing organs. In the United States, fifteen states prohibit reproductive cloning, and three prohibit the use of public funds for cloning research.


Because China hasn’t formally banned cloning in any way, critics fear that Chinese scientists might attempt a human clone after their success in monkeys. Yet those researchers, at least, stated they had no plans to clone humans, as “social ethics would by no means allow that practice.”

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The Forum post is edited by Admin Nov 12 '19
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