No human clones this century – stem cell expert
Last Updated: 2005-06-07 10:04:05 -0400 (Reuters Health)
SEOUL (Reuters) – There will be no human clones this century because the work is dangerous, complicated and unethical, a South Korea scientist at the forefront of stem cell research and cloning technology said on Tuesday.
“I don’t think we will have any chance to meet a cloned human being within the next 100 years, at least,” said Woo-Suk Hwang, the head of a team of South Korean scientists who cloned the first human embryo to use for research.
Speaking at a panel discussion, Hwang denounced human cloning as foolish and unsafe science. “Cloning a human being is nonsense. Briefly, it is not ethical, it is not safe at all, and it’s technically impossible,” Hwang said.
Hwang made news around the world last month for a breakthrough that fulfills one of the basic promises of using cloning technology in stem cell research — that a piece of skin could be taken from a patient and used to grow stem cells.
Researchers believe the stem cells could be manipulated to provide “tailored” tissue and organ transplants to cure juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and even to repair severed spinal cords.
Hwang has said his work does not involve human cloning, but using eggs harvested from human females to create cells that can never become an actual human being.
Last month, President Bush expressed concern about Hwang’s research and threatened to veto legislation that would loosen restrictions on U.S. government funding of embryonic stem cell research.
“I’m very concerned about cloning,” Bush said at the time. “I worry about a world in which cloning would be acceptable.”
In response, Hwang said last month that while he had respect for Bush’s views for their theological and political values, he also said they represented a “peculiar policy” that hampered U.S. research.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.