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REPRODUCTIVE CLONING:

Developments during 2002.

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Sponsored link.


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Note:

The following news items relate to reproductive cloning: the creation of a newborn human or other animal who is an exact duplication of an existing person. They do not describe therapeutic cloning: the creation of pre-embryos in order to extract their stem cells and create a human organ.

See another essay for information on U.S. legislation at the Federal and State levels which have attempted to regulate human therapeutic and reproductive cloning.

News items on therapeutic (a.k.a. research) cloning is described elsewhere.

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News items during 2002:

bullet2002-JAN-4: UK: Cloned sheep has developed arthritis: Dolly, the world's first cloned mammal, has developed arthritis at age five-and-a-half years. It is not clear whether the arthritis is related to the cloning process. Professor Ian Wilmut, head of the team at Roslin Institute which created Dolly, said: "She has arthritis in her left hind leg at the hip and the knee....There is no way of knowing if this is down to cloning or whether it is a coincidence. We will never know the answer to that question. We are very disappointed and we will have to keep a careful eye on her. In every other way she is perfectly healthy and she has given birth to six healthy lambs.1
bullet2002-JAN-7: US: Human embryos created: Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology Inc. (ACT) published the results of their project to create human pre-embryos via somatic cell nuclear transfer. Although this conceivably could have been used for reproductive cloning leading to its development into a newborn, the intent of these experiments is to produce and harvest stem cells for use in therapeutic cloning. None of the pre-embryos developed past the six-cell stage. 2
bullet2002-JAN-11: CA: California panel opposes reproductive cloning: A 12-person advisory board appointed by the California legislature was set to announce its unanimous recommendations that therapeutic cloning be permitted....To ban such research would, in our view, be itself unethical." Citing physical, psychological safety, ethical and social concerns, the report states: "The Committee unanimously agrees that California should ban human reproductive cloning." Most committee members felt that reproductive cloning should be banned even if it were proved to be physically safe. 3
bullet2002-JAN-18: USA: National Academy of Sciences opposes reproductive cloning: A panel of the National Academy of Scientists (NAS) issued a 113 page report on cloning. It was based purely on scientific factors, and not moral or ethical concerns. It concluded that reproductive cloning should be illegal because of the risk to both the clones and to their mothers. The report said, in part: "The panel, therefore, unanimously supports the proposal that there should be a legally enforceable ban on the practice of human reproductive cloning." They also recommended that Congress should not interfere with therapeutic cloning research.
bulletA coalition of patient advocates and medical research groups is promoting legislation that would follow the NAS recommendations.
bulletDouglas Johnson, of the National Right to Life Committee, a pro-life group, said: "This little group is just flying cover for the biotech industry's plans to set up human embryo farms."
bulletSenator Arlen Specter (R-PA) commented: "It is vital that the hands of the scientific community must not be tied if people who suffer from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases are to receive the benefits of stem cells and transplants." 4
bullet2002-FEB-14: TX: Cloned house cat produced: Scientists at Texas A&M University revealed that a cloned kitten was born in mid 2001-DEC. This brings to six the number of animals which have been reproductively cloned: sheep, mice, pigs, goats, cattle and cats. Mark Westhusin said that: "This process is absolutely not ready for prime time." The kitten is named "cc" short for copy cat. It was really cute. 5
bullet2002-MAR-23: FL: Anti-cloning bills not expected to pass: House Bill HB 805 and Senate Bill SB 1164 were not expected to be voted upon as the legislature concluded its session. They would have banned all human cloning, both reproductive and therapeutic. Cloning activity could have resulted in a 10-year jail sentence and a one million dollar fine. Kenneth Goodman, a University of Miami professor and co-director of the Florida Bioethics Network said that a ban "is like telling the Wright brothers they needed to rely on springs and rubber bands....We need to be sensitive to all sorts of constituencies. But scientists are looking for guidance, not a door slammed in their faces." 6
bullet2002-MAR-30: KY: Bill to ban reproductive cloning killed: According to John Cheves of the Herald-Leader: "The [Kentucky] Senate voted 22-16 for an amendment that nullified the controversial House Bill 138, a human cloning ban. The Senate then laid the bill on the clerk's desk indefinitely, a move that stops the bill for the rest of this legislative session." The bill would have banned both reproductive and therapeutic cloning.
bulletJane Chiles, of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky said: "The mad scientist approach -- no limits, let me move full steam ahead, no matter what -- is what the universities want here."
bulletSen. Robert Stivers, (R) said nobody knows what the potential of stem-cell research will achieve. He said: "What this bill does without the amendment is close a door. A hope. An opportunity." 7
bullet2002-APR-3: Italy: Dr. Antinori claims woman pregnant with 8 week old cloned fetus: Dr. Antinori, director of an Infertility unit at the International Center for the Study of Physiopathology of Human Reproduction in Rome announced at a conference that a woman is carrying a cloned fetus. He noted that there is some risk that the fetus will be born with a defect. "Terming the U.S. ban as a violation of human rights, he stated that everyone had the right to transmit their particular characteristics to their progeny, or to use cloning to reduce infertility." 8 This appears to have been a hoax. As of 2004-FEB, no human newborn has been proven to be a clone.
bullet2002-APR-9: USA: Failures in cloning monkeys casts doubts on human reproductive cloning: Gerald Schatten, deputy director, Magee-Womens Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA and his team unsuccessfully tried to clone a monkey. He said that this casts doubts on attempts to clone humans. Richard Paulson, chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Southern California said: "Based on recent data from attempts to clone monkeys, it is extremely unlikely that human reproductive cloning is going to happen any time soon." 9
bullet2002-APR-10: USA: Women who carry cloned fetuses may be at risk for cancer: Professor Richard Gardner said that the woman carrying a cloned fetus could be at risk of choriocarcinoma -- a rare and uniquely human cancer. BBC News states that: "The cancer develops from the trophoblast, the part of an embryo that invades the womb wall and develops into the placenta....Animal experiments have shown these genes remain switched on in cloned embryos when they should be silenced by a chemical masking process called 'imprinting'." 10
bullet2002-APR-23: USA: Rare pig breed cloned: "Princess," is the last American female from one of four bloodlines of Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs in North America. Two cloned were successfully produced. Earlier attempts at natural breeding and artificial insemination had been unsuccessful. 11
bullet2002-AUG-29: Australia: House passes ban on human reproductive cloning: The House voted 89 to 43 to split an anti-cloning bill into two components -- to cover reproductive and therapeutic cloning. They then unanimously passed the bill which bans reproductive cloning. 12
bullet2002-SEP-25: CA: Temporary ban made permanent: Governor Gray Davis signed a bill that places a permanent ban on reproductive cloning. The previous law was due to expire at the start of 2003. Davis said: "There is no other place in the nation where science and high-tech better compliment each other. But we have to draw a clear line on the ethics of this cutting-edge biotechnology. We are not ready to experiment with human or reproductive cloning." 13
bullet2002-NOV-8: World: U.S. defeats world ban on human reproductive cloning: A United Nations committee was poised to vote on a Franco-German proposal to ban all human reproductive cloning. The U.S. with the support of over 30 other nations successfully delayed further discussion for a year. The U.S. wants the proposal extended to ban therapeutic cloning as well. George Annas, professor of public health and bioethics at Boston University called the decision "a shame." He said: "The delay will give France and Germany another year to persuade people that there is something worthwhile in research cloning, and that you can conduct such research without making babies. As research cloning is now already under way in many parts of the world including the United States, the delay means that scientists everywhere including in the United States can continue such research for at least another year." 14
bullet2002-DEC-26: Bermuda: Probable hoax: first human clone born: Clonaid, a private company linked to the Raelian religious group, states that a healthy, 7-pound girl, "Eve" was born. The cloning was allegedly done because the woman's husband was infertile. The DNA came from the baby's mother, a 31 year old American woman. Clonaid hopes to have twenty more births during 2003. Most observers were either outraged at the news, or very skeptical that it was more than a publicity stunt. No proof that the event actually happened has ever been released. 15

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More detailed and comprehensive media accounts on reproductive and therapeutic cloning are available at:

bulletBioExchange, at: http://www.bioexchange.com/ It "is a science network of specialized e-marketplaces, value-added information & resources, and industry-specific e-business services."
bulletAmericans to Ban Cloning, at: http://www.cloninginformation.org/ This group "promote a global, comprehensive ban on human [therapeutic and reproductive] cloning."

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References:

  1. "Cloned Dolly has arthritis," CNN.com, 2002-JAN-4, at: http://edition.cnn.com/
  2. Ted Agres & Eugene Russo, "Cloning Controversy Re-emerges in US. Announced creation of human embryos sparks debate among scientists and lawmakers," The Scientist, 2002-JAN-7. at: http://www.the-scientist.com/
  3. Tom Abate, "State panel backs cloning for research, but not babies," San Francisco Chronicle, 2002-JAN-11, at: http://www.sfgate.com/
  4. Rick Weiss & Ceci Connolly, "Experts Urge Ban On Cloned Babies. But Panel Backs Embryo Research," Washington Post, 2002-JAN-19, Page A01, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  5. Dan Vergano, "Clone scientists produce copy cat," USA Today, 2002-FEB-14, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  6. John Pain, "Cloning ban not likely to pass," The Associated Press, 2002-MAR-23, at: http://www.tallahassee.com/
  7. John Cheves, "Senate vote goes against cloning ban. Threat to research ends as bill dies for this session," Herald-Leader, 2002-MAR-30, at: http://www.aberdeennews.com/
  8. Kavitha S Daniel, "Human cloning project claims progress," Gulf News, 2002-APR-3, at: http://www.gulfnews.com/
  9. Amanda Onion, "Unlikely Story? Failed Monkey Clonings Cast Doubt on Human Cloning Claim," ABC News, 2002-APR-9, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  10. "Cloned baby cancer warning," BBC News, 2002-APR-10, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  11. "Rare pig cloned in single cycle," New Scientists, 2002-APR-23, at: http://www.newscientist.com/
  12. "Cloning ban passes through House of Representatives," Australian Broadcast Corporation News, 2002-AUG-29, at: http://www.abc.net.au/
  13. "New law makes permanent a ban on human cloning," Sacramento Business Journal, 2002-SEP-25, at: http://www.bizjournals.com/
  14. "World cloning ban delayed," ONE News, 2002-NOV-8, http://onenews.nzoom.com/
  15. "First Human Clone," The Reproductive Cloning Network at: http://www.reproductivecloning.net/

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Copyright 2002 to 2004 incl. by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated 2004-FEB-1
6
Author: Bruce A Robinson

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