Sheep Cloning Essay, Research Paper
Successful clone of adult sheep born; clone named “Dolly” after the famous country singer
February 23, 1997 Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland announce the birth of “Dolly”
March 1997 Following the announcement of “Dolly,” President Clinton issues a moratorium that bans the use of federal funds for any project involving human cloning; asks the newly appointed National Bioethics Advisory Board to address the ethical and legal issues surrounding human cloning within three months
August 1997 Clinton proposes legislation banning the cloning of humans for at least 5 years, giving the National Bioethics Board time to assess the risks, and study the ethical and social impact of cloning humans further
September 1997 About 64,000 biologists and physicians sign a voluntary five-year moratorium on human cloning (United States)
early January 1998 Ninteen European nations sign a ban on human cloning. Click here to view these countries
Richard Seed, a physicist from Chicago, announces his plans to perform human cloning experiments before Congress enacts a ban on cloning
January 20, 1998 The Food and Drug Administration announces its authority to regulate human cloning — it would now be a violation of federal law to try somatic cell transfer (the method used to clone “Dolly” without its approval
h Nineteen European nations followed a similar path as the United States by signing a ban on human cloning on January 12, 1998. Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Macedonia and Turkey all signed the agreement. The German government did not sign because representatives believed that its current laws, created in response to Nazi genetic engineering experiments, were more strict than the signed ban. Britain declared itself “open” to the new cloning technology ( 19 European Nations). The European ban prohibited “any intervention seeking to create human beings genetically identical to another human being, whether living or dead.” It will still allow for all other cloning for research purpose.
h In March of 1998, Australia also stated it was considering a human cloning ban Australia.)
h Canada proposed the “Human Reproductive and Genetic Technologies Act” January 1997. The act prohibits cloning or splitting of a zygote (15 days or older), embryo (15 days or older) or fetus (57 days or older). For the complete act refer to The Gene Letter.
Opponents to Human Cloning Ban
Discussion in the Senate
h Within the Senate, opponents to the Republican bill say the bill will restrict vital research. Senator Connie Mack (R- Florida) suggested postponing a ban in order to consider patient groups suffering from fatal diseases which might benefit from human cloning (Senate Stymied).
h Democratic opponents, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Ted Kennedy, proposed their own legislation which initiated a ten year ban on the implantation of cloned cells in a female womb to create a human being. The legisalation would allow for cloning experiments which create specific tissue, like muscle, nerve, or skin. Such research of specific tissue is crucial for the study of treatments of an array of diseases. Because this ban is sensitive to the medical community’s future reasearch, the White House is also promoting a similar ban. President Clinton has said his proposal does not restrict the cloning of molecules, DNA, cells, tissue or animals. It only bans human cloning (Senate Stymied).
National Institute of Health
The NIH director, Harold E. Varmus, spoke against the newly proposed bill. Varmus said that if human cloning techniques were perfected, it could be “reserved for rare circumstances, such as cases of untreatable infertility in couples intent upon having genetically related offspring.” He was quoted as saying that he personally considered human cloning experiments “offensive” but wanted the public and government officials to keep an open mind (NIH).
Richard Seed, shown to the right, a Harvard doctorate (but not a medical doctor), is a strong supporter of human cloning rights. He belives opposition to human cloning will “blow over” with time. He believes it will become acceptable as time passes and people lose their fear and horror for the new technology. He has publicly announced his plans to open a human cloning clinic for infertile couples; he wants to eventually create 200,000 clones a year. Within the next eighteen months he wants to produce a two month pregnant female in the United States. If he is not allowed to do it, he plans on moving to Tijuana, Mexico or the Cayman Islands, Bahamas. Presently, Seed is trying to find $2 million dollars in funding to finance his plans in Chicago (Clinton Stresses).
h The scientists who cloned “Dolly” at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, said they support the cloning of animals, but do not support experiments involving humans. They are concerned that a ban on human cloning will inhibit valuable scientific research. Alan Colman and others at the Roslin Institute envision cloning as an opportunity to improve and produce medicine.
h Dr. James Robl, at the University of Massachussets, and Dr. Steven Stice, at Advanced Cell Technology Incorporated, share other scientists’ concerns that human cloning bans will affect their research in “pharming” (pharmaceuticals and cows). Presently, they are testing the mass production of drugs for humans in cows’ milk.