Developments - 1997 to 2000 incl.
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
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
News items on reproductive cloning:
||1997-FEB-11: USA: Federal legislation: A bill was brought before the US Senate which would
criminalize human cloning. Scripps Howard news service reported
that "widespread protests from the scientific community coupled with concern
about the Republican leadership's haste in bringing the bill forward"
killed the bill. |
||1997-JUN: USA: Southern Baptists Resolution: Messengers (delegates) to the annual meeting of the Southern
Baptist Convention passed a resolution supporting a U.S. government ban on funding
human embryo research. They also asked that human cloning be prohibited.|
||1998-NOV: USA: Advisory Committee: Harold Shapiro, chairman of the National Bioethics
Advisory Committee, said that human cloning may be "impossible to stop."
Research is being done with "stunning speed."|
||1998-FEB-20: Korea: Calf clone: The Korean Times reported that researchers
at the Seoul National University had successfully cloned a calf using methods
identical to those which produced "Dolly". "Researchers said
[that] Korea became the fifth country in the world to clone an adult animal after the
United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand and the United States."|
||1999-APR-20: Japan: Calf clones: Approx. date: Japanese researchers at the Snow Band dairy in
Hokkaido produced twin calves. They used a mammary cell extracted from colustrum: the milk
produced by a cow shortly after having given birth.|
||1999-APR-27: Canada: Goats: Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. of Montreal, Quebec have
produced the world's first cloned goats. The triplets are named Arnold, Danny and Clint.
The company's eventual goal is to produce transgenic animals - goats with a human gene -
which will produce milk containing spider-silk proteins. The proteins would be extracted
and "used for artificial tendons or ligaments, tissue repair, wound healing and
||1999-MAY: Scotland: Ageing problem: The Scottish researchers who cloned Dolly, the first cloned
mammal, have discovered that her cells are six years older than her chronological age. The
cell that was used to fertilize the sheep ovum that became Dolly came from an adult female
sheep, aged 6 years. Apparently, cells have an internal mechanism which keeps track of its
age. This mechanism was not reset to 0 when Dolly was conceived. She was, in essence, over
6 years old when she is born. Dolly will probably have a lower life expectancy as a
||1999-JUN-16: USA Southern Baptist resolution: The Southern Baptist Convention passed a
resolution which calls once more for the U.S. government to continue its ban on federal
funding for human embryo research. They also asked that privately-funded researchers
voluntarily stop this research as well.|
||1999-OCT-17: Russia: Woolly Mammoth: A team of French, American, Dutch and Russian
paleontologists successfully airlifted a male, 23 tonne (25 ton) woolly
mammoth from its grave in Siberia where it had been frozen for 20,000 years.
It was almost complete except for its head which had been exposed to air in
the past. Since the species has been extinct for over 10,000 years, some
scientists have proposed that attempts be made to breed a living mammoth
from DNA, sperm or cell nucleus retrieved from the carcass. An modern
elephant ovum would be used, because it is the closest living relative to
the mammoth. Some suggestions are:
||Retrieve some mammoth DNA from its bones or tissue and insert it into
a living elephant cell. If successful, this would produce an
elephant-mammoth hybrid with mammoth DNA pieces in some of the elephant
chromosomes. If successful, the result would be an elephant with some
||Perform artificial insemination between a mammoth sperm and
unfertilized ovum of a living elephant. If successful, this would
produce an animal with mixed mammoth-elephant chromosomes.
||Clone the mammoth by inserting the nucleus from one of its cells into
an empty ovum of an elephant. This would produce a full clone of the
mammoth. Unfortunately, thawing out the animal tends to destroy cell
nuclei. Thus, cloning may not be possible.
||2000-JAN-13: USA: Monkey clone: According to DayWatch: "Scientists
announced on Thursday that they had cloned a monkey. The researchers
at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center said the rhesus monkey
named "Tetra" was cloned by splitting a very early embryo
into four parts. The cloning process is different from the one that
created Dolly the Sheep. Researchers hope the experiment will result
in the production of identical lab animals for testing." This
procedure is actually "embryo cloning." |
||2000-APR-27: USA: Ageing problem of clones solved? Scientists at Advanced
Cell Technology, Inc of Worcester, MA successfully cloned
six cows. They grew cells from a 45 day fetus "until they
neared the end of their life span, then put those cells back into
eggs, which they allowed to develop into calves." They then
measured the telomeres of sample cells from the animals. These are
structures at the ends of the cells' chromosomes. The telomeres
shorten as cells divide and age. Once they are frayed beyond repair,
the cell dies. The researchers found that the "telomeres in
the cloned cows were much longer than those in normal cows of the same
age, and in many cases they were longer than telomeres in newborn
calves." The cow's cells appeared younger than the cow's
chronological age! Dr. Michael West, president and CEO of Advanced
Cell Technology said: "What we showed in this paper
is this clock gets reset. It gets wound back up. It remains to be
determined whether this would extend the life of the animal."
Scientists speculate that these animals may age more slowly and be
able to repair damage due to disease and aging. West said that perhaps
someday, doctors might be able to "take one young cell from a
patient and make hundreds or thousands of young cells and put them
back in the patient and give them back a young immune system or give
them back young cartilage in their knees." 1|
||2000-AUG-17: Britain: Human cloning may proceed: An
advisory group in Britain has recommended that the ban be lifted on
human "therapeutic cloning." See
details .The goal is to create organ transplants which bear the DNA
of the recipient patient. "At present embryo research is
allowed only for treating infertility and preventing disability in
children. Government ministers have already indicated that they
support Professor Donaldson’s proposals. Members of Parliament will
vote on the issue later this year. At the same time, the law will be
strengthened to prevent cloning with the aim of producing a baby."
||2000-SEP-25: Scotland: Gay conception may be possible: Catholic
World News reported the comments of Dr. Calum MacKellar, a
lecturer in bioethics and biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh.
He speculated that future developments in cloning research might make
it possible to obtain a human ovum from a woman, remove its DNA, and
replace it with the DNA from a male. Theoretically, the ovum could
then be fertilized with the sperm from a second male -- perhaps a
spouse of the first male. The fertilized "male egg"
could then be implanted in the womb of a surrogate mother. This could
produce a child whose DNA was derived from both of the newborn's
fathers, with no female DNA involved. He recommends that the new
cloning bill to be introduced into the British Parliament later in
2000 include a section which would deal with the creation of a male
egg. Dr. MacKellar said: "The ethical, philosophical and
theological issues surrounding the creation of children with two
genetic fathers and a surrogate mother are extensive, and they need to
be thoroughly thought through before any legislation is considered in
parliament...If the Government does not take careful notice of the
issues surrounding the male egg, another report will need to be
written by another Chief Medical Officer just because no-one believed
this could happen."|
||2000-OCT-9: USA: Endangered species cloning: Robert Lanza of Advanced
Cell Technology reported that scientists have impregnated a cow
with a cell cloned from a Asian gaur - a large, rare wild ox. They
removed the DNA from a cow's ovum, fused it with DNA taken from a skin
cell of a gaur, and produced a gaur embryo that is accepted by the
cow's immune system. The embryo was implanted in the cow's uterus.
They hope that "Bessie" will deliver a gaur calf in
November. If the technique works, then a new method will have been
found to save endangered or recently extinct animals. Many species are
becoming extinct in the wild; in some cases, the species do not
readily mate in zoos. Cloning may be their only hope of survival.
||2000-OCT-11: Bahamas: Religious group will try to clone human: An
unnamed American couple has paid £300,000 to a religious group, the
Raelians, to clone their dead daughter. She had died at the age of 10
months as a result of a medical accident. Her parents had some cells
from her body saved in the hope of producing an identical twin of her
in the future. 4 At a September press conference in
Canada, Dr Brigitte Boisselier, scientific director of the Raelians,
said: "We've got the funding. We anticipate being able to
start in October." She announced that up to 50 women had
volunteered to act as surrogate mothers. The lab will be set up in a
third-world country which has no laws against cloning. Reaction was
||Professor Ian Wilmut, the scientist who created Dolly the Sheep,
said: "It sounds to me like a very misguided exercise.
Clearly everybody feels very sorry for any couple who loses a
child but you cannot get that child back. People should realize
that as a biological truth. Quite apart from that, it is
absolutely criminal to try this in a human."
||Michael West, chief executive of Advanced Cell Technology,
in Massachusetts, said: "People with experience in vitro
fertilization would probably be able to do it. The directions are
all in the scientific literature. They're not top secret."
||Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of ethics at the British Medical
Association speculated: "They may succeed and if they
do it will be very interesting...But rather than winning a Nobel
Prize these people may have to face almost universal condemnation.
There's a fairly broad consensus worldwide that this is
undesirable. It's too risky and underpinning the scientific risk
there are tremendous moral and ethical problems. I'm not convinced
that people understand how unsafe the science is."
||Professor Robert Winston, the test tube baby pioneer, was more
pessimistic: "As they are so extremely unlikely to succeed
I hardly feel the need to raise my voice to condemn them."
There is a near consensus among observers that this item was a
publicity stunt by the Raelians.
"Scientists rewind aging clock in cells of cloned cows, study says,"
CNN.com, 2000-ARR-27, at: http://www.cnn.com/
"British experts back cloning," 2000-AUG-16, at: http://www.7am.com/
"Scientists impregnate cow with cloned cells of rare ox,"
2000-OCT-8, Associated Press.
Toby Moore & Michael Hanlon, "Cult in first bid to clone human,"
Daily Express, London, UK. 2000-OCT-11
Copyright ©1997 to 2004 incl. by Ontario Consultants on
Originally published: 1997-AUG-5
Last updated 2004-FEB-13
Author: Bruce A Robinson