April 16, 2024


There will be no BioEdge on October 8. The next issue of BioEdge will be on October 15.

Dolly’s creator applies to clone human embryos

Professor Ian Wilmut, the Scottish scientist who helped create the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, has applied for a licence to clone human embryos in order to study motor neurone disease. He says that cloned embryos will be an "extremely powerful" tool . "We would emphasise that, at this time, our objective is to understand the disease," he says. "We hope one day it will lead to treatment, but we’re not suggesting that at the present time." His team plans to create embryo clones of people with motor neurone disease and kill them after six days by extracting stem cells.

As one might expect, Professor Wilmut’s proposal excited much adverse comment, although he contends that he is only producing cells, not human beings. A spokeswoman for the UK charity Life took the opposite view. She commented that "human beings should not be manufactured in order to benefit others and that’s what research on human embryos consists of. For human embryos to be dissected and researched upon for any reason is wrong."