Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Human Cloning at UC-Irvine

Scientists at the University of California Irvine will begin attempts at human cloning for research or as they refer to it: Develop Patient-Specific Stem Cell Lines. Check out this deceptive definition -
Keirstead will use a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) in which a patient's DNA is transplanted into a donated unfertilized egg cell in order to generate stem cell lines with the same genetic makeup of the patient.
Does SCNT (aka cloning) generate stem cell lines or does it attempt to create a cloned human embryo from which stem cells can be removed?

Reporter Gary Robbins from the OCRegister reports on this story and while he uses the word cloning (with the obligatory and inaccurate "therapeutic" attached) and describes the technique, he includes this factually inaccurate line.
The research has stirred controversy because it involves harvesting stem cells from a surplus embryo, and because some people fear that it would lead to the cloning of humans.
Could lead to the cloning of humans? It is the cloning of humans! How can embryos be considered "surplus" embryos if the embryos are created solely for the purpose of removing their stem cells? Kerstead also has an odd defense of why creating human embryos by cloning specifically for research is ethical.
Keirstead, whose father served as a Lutheran minister, says he considers his work to be ethical and moral because it involves using surplus eggs that were destined to be destroyed, and that the field eventually could produce cures or treatments for a variety of diseases and injuries.
So then your research would be unethical if the eggs were removed specifically for cloning experiments?

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research have gone from arguing it's okay to kill human embryos leftover from IVF because they are "surplus" embryos which are supposedly "going to be destroyed anyway" to now asserting it's okay to create human embryos through cloning for the express purpose of killing them for their cells because the surplus eggs would be otherwise destroyed.

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