Scientists Want `Silly' Ban on Human Embryo Research Lifted

Article excerpt

Recent advances in cloning and cell research have spurred scientists to call for an end to the ban on human-embryo research. Biotechnicians have isolated human cells that can be manipulated, grown and used to cure disease, they argue. Such lab-grown tissue -- and ultimately body parts -- could replace or strengthen damaged organs without being rejected by a patient's body.

Prominent researchers have spoken out on the subject recently. John Morrow, a biochemist at Texas Tech University, has called the ban "silly," arguing that ample evidence exists that cell research may produce "cures for people's terrible, terrible diseases." Urologist Larry Lipschultz, president of the American Society for Reproductive Research, says that "the timing is right to lift the research ban. Our organization favors lifting it."

Among events provoking the scientists' recent outcry: In December, Japanese researchers announced they had cloned eight calves from cells taken from a single adult cow. Although a cow had been cloned before, the Japanese appear to have perfected the technique for removing the nucleus of one type of cell, slipping it into an egg cell whose nucleus had been removed and fostering growth by bathing the composite egg in a chemical mixture. …