February 24, 2024

Therapeutic cloning” a misnomer, says stem cell society

The term “therapeutic cloning” is a misnomer, says the International Society for Stem Cell Research, because it is not therapeutic and it is not cloning. “For a frank scientific, ethical and public debate on stem cells and their potential for medicine, accurate nomenclature is critical,” it says. Instead, it suggests that the process should be called “nuclear transfer” or simply NT.

The society says that the word “cloning” is inaccurate, as the product will not be an exact copy of the organism. The egg into which the nucleus of the clone is transferred still contains maternal mitochondrial DNA. These can have an effect upon how the genes express themselves and make it virtually impossible for the resulting embryo to be an exact genetic copy. As for the word therapeutic”, the society says that “it is far too early to predict therapeutic uses, and naming a technique for its hoped outcome may inadvertently offer premature hope to desperate patients and families.”