Human Cloning Research Proceeds in South Korea

Article excerpt

A team of South Korean researchers claim to have made a step forward in cloning human cells. The researchers say they created a cloned human embryo that was a genetic replica of a 30-year-old woman. If their claim is accurate, their work would fuel debate about the controversial technology.

According to the scientists, they destroyed the cloned embryo very early in its development. They intend to grow human cells for therapeutic purposes, but do not have plans to transfer cloned embryos to a woman's womb without a consensus about the ethics of doing so, they said. Still, their announcement, which was not accompanied by any scientific evidence, promted a range of responses from various participants in the bioethics debate. "Oh my!" said R. Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. "This is certainly going to make the debate surrounding cloning and the debate surrounding embryo research ever more urgent."

The Korean researchers report that they injected genetic material, or DNA, from an unidentified fertility patient's ovarian cell into one of her eggs whose DNA had been removed. …