Baby Clone Team Causes Stink
12 Mar 2001
Human cloning hopes spark angry reactions and unite traditional
foes - scientists and religious leaders.
Mounting anger over plans to clone humans has brought harsh criticism
from two powerful parties.
Religious and scientific leaders, usually at odds, have both condemned
the practice. Scientists have labeled it a huge risk, and the Vatican
has declared it grotesque and undignified.
Wildly optimistic about his pet project, Italian scientist Severino
Antinori revealed, in 1998, his hope to clone a human being.
Now the Frankenstein doctors, as they have been nicknamed, US-based
Panayiotis Zavos and Antorini, are trying to override intense criticism
after announcing their plans to clone children to help infertile couples.
They expect their first human clone to be born within two years. Scores
of childless people worldwide have expressed an interest.
Cloning is a process whereby the genetic material of an existing person
is taken and used as the base to build a new person. Ultimately, this
gives complete control of the genetic process to science rather than
leaving it to natural devices.
However, the process has caused unusual and little-understood deformities
in animals and the psychological damage cannot be assessed.
The concern is that the application of this process to human experimentation
is likely to give similar results.
The Council of Europe has written a protocol to ban this activity and
24 countries have signed so far.
From an ethical stance, the general understanding could be that cloning
human beings is perceived as inherently wrong.
For example, popular representation in films such as Jurassic Park
denotes our fear of science which is out of its depth.
- Kate Callaghan