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Reproductive cloning:

Developments reported in
the media, from 2003 to now

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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. It would be a profoundly immoral action if it is ever done using human DNA.. Experiments on animals have shown a large rate of birth and developmental defects. The following news items do not describe therapeutic cloning: the creation of pre-embryos in order to extract their stem cells and construct 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 2003:

bullet 2003-JAN-6: U.S.: Scientist ends attempts to evaluate Clonaid claims: Clonaid, a U.S. company linked to the Raelian religious group claims that the world's first cloned baby was born on 2002-DEC-26. The company refused the offer of a team of leading U.S. scientists to test the mother and child to evaluate the cloning claim. They were given no access to the family and thus were unable to verify that the baby was cloned. Clonaid has allegedly stated that the parents of their baby "Eve" were unwilling to allow DNA tests because they might be required to reveal their identity. 5
bullet 2003-FEB-18: Scotland: Dolly is euthanized: Dolly, the first cloned mammal, was put down by a lethal injection. She was six years old and suffering from lung cancer caused by a virus, and arthritis. The autopsy did not find any no other signs of premature aging. She will be stuffed and exhibited in the National Museum of Scotland. She is survived by three or four lambs. 6
bullet 2003-MAR-25: Brazil: Raelians distribute picture of cloned baby: Brigette Boisselier, president of Clonaid -- a company linked to the Raelian religious group -- distributed photos of what they allege to be the third cloned human baby, a Japanese newborn. They promised DNA proof that the newborn is an actual clone. It was never supplied. Most observers have dismissed their claims as a hoax. 4
bullet 2003-APR-10: USA: Scientists say that human reproductive cloning may be impossible: Scientists have successfully cloned various species of mammals, including sheep, mice and cattle. But all attempts to clone monkeys have failed. They suspect that the biological makeup of the eggs of humans and other primates might make cloning impossible. BBC News reports that: "The obstacle appears to be something to do with the way genetic material is parcelled up as a cell splits into two during embryonic development. Cells end up with too much, or too little DNA, and cannot survive." Dr Gerald Schatten told the journal Science "This reinforces the fact that the charlatans who claim to have cloned humans have never understood enough cell or developmental biology (to succeed)." 3
bullet 2003-SEP-22: World: Scientist from around the world condemn reproductive cloning. According to BBC News: "The Inter-Academy Panel, a network of scientific societies representing the world's leading researchers, has called for a specific ban on what they term reproductive cloning. It is not opposed to the use of [therapeutic] cloning techniques to find treatments for incurable diseases." Lord May, the president of the Royal Society in the UK said that reproductive cloning was a threat to the health of the mother and child; it is "grossly irresponsible." 2
bullet 2003-DEC-24: France: Lower house of parliament passes anti-cloning bill: The French Parliament has passed a bill that would make reproductive cloning a crime against humanity, punishable by 30 years in jail and a multi-million dollar fine. It would also ban cloning "for therapeutic purposes, the creation of stem cells for medical research, and key techniques used in embryo research." . 1
bullet 2004 to now: There have been no significant developments in reproductive cloning: Scientists realize that reproductive cloning cannot be done with today's techniques because of the likelihood of birth defects or of defects that will only become apparent later in life. We suspect that research in this field is dead.

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

bullet BioExchange, at: http://www.bioexchange.com/ It "is a science network of specialized e-marketplaces, value-added information & resources, and industry-specific e-business services."
bullet Americans 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. "French parliament backs human cloning ban," Reuters, 2003-DEC-19, at: http://www.sabcnews.com/
  2. "Call for ban on human cloning. It may not be possible to clone a baby. Scientists from around the world have called for an international ban on the cloning of humans to make babies," BBC News, 2003-SEP-22, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk
  3. "Human cloning 'flawed'. Human cloning may never be possible because of a quirk of biology." BBC News, 2003-APR-10, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  4. "Company shows 'cloned baby'. A company claiming to have created the world's first cloned babies has distributed a photograph of one of the 'clones' for the first time," BBC News, 2003-MAR-25, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  5. " 'Clone' baby inquiry suspended," BBC News, 2003-JAN-6, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  6. John Whitfield, "Obituary: Dolly the sheep. Celebrity clone dies of drug overdose," Nature Science Update, 2003-FEB-18, at: http://www.nature.com/

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Copyright 2003 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated 2007-FEB-23

Author: Bruce A Robinson

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