Hello, Hello, Dolly, Dolly: U.S. Has No Laws to Prevent Using Sheep-Cloning Research on Humans
Price, Joyce, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Hundreds of U.S. fertility clinics have the means to create human clones using the same technology that produced Dolly the ewe, the world's first clone of an adult mammal.
What's more, no U.S. law bans research into the cloning of human beings, legal and genetic experts said yesterday.
"Any in-vitro fertilization lab around the country could do it," said Dell Gibson, president of Cryogenics Solutions Inc. (CSI), a research firm in Houston.
Dr. Masood Khatamee, executive director of the New York-based Fertility Research Foundation, agrees: "The technology is so simple and inexpensive. With an investment of $5,000 to $10,000, in addition to the $100,000 [start-up costs] for an IVF lab, it's doable."
Dr. Khatamee said he doesn't know of any labs that are doing human clone experimentation now. "But it's coming. It will happen," he said. "This is a very serious matter, and it should be done under strict scientific and moral and ethical guidelines."
According to Dr. Khatamee, there are nearly 300 registered IVF clinics and another 50 unregistered outfits in operation throughout the nation.
Mr. Gibson said his firm "intends to adapt the technique" developed by scientists at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, Scotland and use it to try to "revitalize" aborted fetuses.
Researchers this week announced the creation of Dolly, who was cloned using DNA from an adult sheep. Genes from udder cells of a 6-year-old ewe were slipped into unfertilized eggs to create pregnancies in other ewes.
Scientists previously had not thought a whole mammal could be regenerated from mature body cells that were specialized for purposes other than reproduction.
Mr. Gibson said his company, which currently is focusing on research aimed at regenerating damaged nerve cells and preventing aging, would have to get approval to use the technique developed by the Scottish researchers. "They got it patented," he said.
Calls to IVF Genetic Clinic in Fairfax for comments on cloning were not returned yesterday. But a woman who answered the phone said, "We don't do human cloning here."
Congress has passed legislation barring federal funding of human embryo research, but it is a temporary ban included in a health-spending bill that expires Sept. …