19.2.04

Therapeutic cloning: it would be immoral not to do it

The lab that brought us Dolly the sheep moves into human therapeutic cloning

The first successful cloning of a human embryo was announced only a few days ago by a South Korean team that succeeded in removing the nuclei from human eggs replacing them with somatic nuclei of the same donors. The resulting cells were allowed to replicate for less than a week, until they developed into blastocysts (clumps of a few hundreds cells), the stage at which stem cells gather together and are easier to harvest. Now the Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, has announced its intention to create blastocysts cloned from motor neurone disease sufferers in order to shed light on the causes of the disease. Dr Ian Wilmut, of the Roslin Insitute, replied to those that consider such experiments immoral with a downright extropian one-liner: "Cloning promises such benefits that it would be immoral not to do it."

Immoral not to do it, just like it would be immoral to leave someone to bleed to death at a crash site instead of taking him to a hospital. Immoral, just like not developing those technologies (biotech, nanotech, AI) that promise to relieve human suffering and to take us beyond the human condition.

Cloned human embryos are stem cell breakthrough (New Scientist)

Dolly lab moves on to cloning human cells (The Times)

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