Professor Ian Wilmut, the Scottish scientist responsible for creating the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, has applied for a licence to clone human embryos as part of his research into motor neuron disease. It is difficult to study the disease in patients, so he plans to create embryos which have the disease, experiment on them, and destroy them after a few days. “Because at this early stage the embryo does not have that key human characteristic of being aware, to me it would be immoral not to take this opportunity to study diseases,” he told the BBC.
A spokesman for the charity Life UK, Patrick Cudsworth, criticised Professor Wilmut’s decision. “The fact that he does so under the banner of so-called therapeutic cloning makes no difference whatsoever to the fact that a human being is being deliberately created and then destroyed,” he commented.
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