Tuesday's National Academy of Sciences panel discussion on cloning devolved into a chaotic circus when a team ready to clone humans defended its plans. It got worse when one scientist called the Pope a criminal.
The Washington, D.C., panel (video) was held in hopes of gathering information in order to aid decisions on a United States moratorium on human cloning. The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to outlaw the experimentation.
Brigitte Boisselier, a scientific director of Clonaid, joined the doctors onstage. She claims cloning is a way to find "eternal life." She also believes in the Raelian Movement, which claims extraterrestrial scientists started life on Earth. Boisselier hinted that she may already be doing human cloning experiments.
The conference heated up as outraged scientists condemned the two doctors, saying animal cloning has resulted in too many abnormalities. The consensus among attendees was that animal cloning will be perfected, but at this point it would not be responsible, ethical, or effective to try on humans.
Antinori outlined the team's cloning plan (essentially the same technique that produced Dolly the sheep), saying they would guard against abnormalities. The team will use a screening process on cloned embryo cells looking for possible problems. Only normal embryos would be implanted into a volunteer and then closely monitored. The team will select 200 women and implant 10 embryos in each—possibly by November. Panos claimed the team had privileged information on the procedure ...1
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