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View Full Version : UK Scientists Allowed to Clone Human Embryos


Kate
13-08-2004, 10:29
Wed 11 August, 2004 15:59
By Astrid Zweynert

LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists said on Wednesday they had received permission to clone human embryos for medical research, in what they believe to be the first such license to be granted in Europe.

The decision is likely to reignite an ethical debate on human therapeutic cloning as opponents fear it could be used to clone babies, which is outlawed in Britain.

In a procedure based on the same technique that created Dolly, the first cloned sheep, the scientists will create embryos as a source of stem cells to help develop new treatments for diabetes and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

They will duplicate early-stage embryos and extract stem cells from them. The embryos will be destroyed before they are 14 days old and will never be allowed to develop beyond a cluster of cells the size of a pinhead.

"This research should give valuable insight into the development of many diseases and benefit millions of patients," Dr Miodrag Stojkovic, a member of the team at Newcastle University in northern England, told Reuters. "It's not about cloning babies. :done:

"To my knowledge this is the first time in Europe that such a license has been granted," he added.

Earlier this year, scientists in South Korea announced that they had produced the first human cloned embryos.

FIVE YEARS BEFORE TREATMENT

Stojkovic said it would be at least five years before patients could receive stem cell treatment based on their work. Stem cells are master cells of the body that can develop into other cell types.

The cloning technique involves removing the nucleus of a human egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus from a human body cell, such as a skin cell.

Britain legalized therapeutic cloning in 2001, under license from its reproductive regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

It is backed by medical charities but pro-life groups are opposed to the technique, arguing that it creates human life with the purpose of destroying it once the research is completed.

"Cloning involves the manufacture of a new kind of human being...with the express purpose of destroying it once its stem cells are removed," said Professor Jack Scarisbrick, chairman of the group Life. "It is the manipulation, exploitation and trivialization of human life of a most frightening kind," he said.

HFEA chairwoman Suzi Leather said the regulator had given careful consideration to all the scientific, ethical, legal and medical aspects of the project.

"This is an important area of research and a responsible use of technology," Leather said.

Scientists welcomed the decision, saying it was a major step in allowing medical researchers to understand and cure diseases.

"Therapeutic cloning will in the immediate future be a vital tool in harnessing the power of stem cells to treat some of the major diseases that threaten humankind," said John Harris, professor of bioethics at Manchester University.
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More discussion on stem cell research > here (http://forum.tatysite.net/showthread.php?t=7738). In this thread we discuss cloning's pros and cons and our different views on the subject of CLONING ONLY!!!!

You guys go first. I'll write my opinion shortly.

denial
13-08-2004, 18:50
well okay .. so its a matter to agree or not to agree .. okay .. so its a clone and not more than 14 days ... okay .. so within 14 days .. it is not has the human shape yet right? like those little fingers and little legs.. if so .. its okay with me ..

thegurgi
13-08-2004, 19:10
oh miss d, i love you for being so open.

When i saw this on the news i did a celebratory dance!

Kate
13-08-2004, 23:02
denial, I think within 14 days it only develops into a blastocyst, nothing more. Just enough to clone stem cells, and a bit before cell differentiation into different functions.

denial
14-08-2004, 03:11
Thanks Kate .. and Mr Greg ( for loving me )... and I hope from this they will find more new discoveries and expand the research so more diseases can be cure.

forre
14-08-2004, 07:32
Great news! Been waiting for it for a while now!
It also means that UK is having a theoretical advantage now in making the new medicines available soon. Wise decision. Moral aspect? Hmmm ... I don't consider an embryo being a human. Not in any form. It's like consider a mouse being a human, as it has some cells those are similar to ours.