GENETIC GENEALOGY PAGES--CLONING
Last revised: January 10, 2006
Human Embryos: The first human embryonic stem cells story from South Korea has beem removed from this web site. Researchers at Newcastle University in the UK, led by Dr. Miodrag Stojkovic, have announced that they have successfully cloned a human embryo. See the journal "Science".
A second British license has been granted to permit the cloning of human stem cells for "therapeutic" purposes. Scientists will grow human embryos with motor neuron disease (example, ALS), which disease kills cells in the spinal cord and brain that control movement. They will attempt to learn more about the disease and possible cures. The Newcastle Centre for Life was the first licensee in August 2004, and now the second licensee is Professor Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh and a team at King's College in London led by Stephen Minger, the Director of Stem Cell Biology at the college.
Year 2003 was supposed to be the birth of the first fully developed human clone, but it never happened. Eve, the first cloned human being, was reportedly born on December 26, 2002 to an American mother. The second cloned human was born to Dutch parents in early January 2003. The third human clone, a boy, was claimed to have been born in Japan on January 23, 2003. Taking credit for all of them is Dr. Brigitte Boisselier of Clonaid (see below) (the news says that 3 more cloned humans will be born in February 2003). Clonaid has refused to have any independent test results to confirm these claims. Therefore, we have no alternative but to believe these claims are false.
Do you remember Dolly the sheep, born July 5, 1996? She was the first fully developed, successfully cloned mammal. Now some in the scientific community are trying to clone human beings. A company called Advanced Cell Technology succeeded in making a single human clone comprised of just 6 cells. Through the process of trying to successfully clone animals, humans found out that they lack knowledge on how cells execute specific events at precise times during development. Heterochronic genes are being examined in animals (and I hope also humans) to determine which ones control the relative timing and sequence of many developmental events. This will be the key to cloning humans and to avoiding the many deformities observed when cloning animals.
Two key players in human cloning are Dr. Panayiotis ("Panos") Zavos, an American, and Dr. Severino Antinori, an Italian. Antinori in November 2002 announced that the first cloned human will be born in January 2003. Zavos Diagnostic Laboratories, Inc.. There is a third player (mentioned above), Dr Brigitte Boisselier, a biochemist and member of a UFO group known as the Raelians. The group has a company called Clonaid. A fourth, Richard Seed, a physicist from Chicago, has previously announced plans to perform human cloning experiments. You can bet there are other scientists looking into this process, as well as other scientists staying away from human cloning.
Cloning/Asexual Reproduction Example: If a woman (or man) has herself/himself cloned, her/his donor nuclear DNA from a somatic cell will be injected into another woman's egg whose nuclear DNA will have been removed. The human clone baby will have 99% of the DNA from the donor parent. Why not 100%? Well, about 1% of the DNA will be mitochondrial DNA from the egg donor's DNA. So the clone will not have 100% DNA of the parent. The embryo will then be implanted into a surrogate mother. For a good diagram of the cloning process, see Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and Human Cloning--The Process
Cloning/Parthenogenesis Example: An unfertilized egg is induced via chemicals or electricity to divide into an embryo without being fertilized.
Since 2001, therapeutic cloning for medical research of serious diseases has been legal in the United Kingdom. The agency that oversee's this activity and issues licenses to serious researchers is the U.K.'s Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority.
Italy's medical code stipulates that medical experimentation is only allowed for the prevention and correction of medical problems--not cloning.
Cloning is prohibited under a Council of Europe convention.
China, Japan and the United Kingdom backed a proposal before the United Nations in late 2004 to permit cloning of stem cells for therapeutic purposes.
The U.S. formally supported a ban on human cloning, but before the United Nations in late 2004, opted to endorse a declaration which stops short of a total ban. This declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly and is being discussed in the UN currently (Jan 2005).
Two dozen countries ban human cloning.
The Vatican has outlawed cloning.
A number of states in the USA also ban cloning: Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Rhode Island (allows therapeutic cloning), Virginia.
States with criminal provisions: Iowa, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota (a felony)
Copyright © 2002-2006 Kevin F. Duerinck
Animated double helix DNA symbol courtesy of Webpromotion