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Will humans ever be cloned

01:00 Thu 21st Jun 2001 |

asks Woolley:
A.
Is it possible, but the likelihood of it happening has been blown out of proportion. It's incredibly difficult to clone animals, and those that survive usually have birth defects or don't develop normally.

Q. But there's still a chance
A.
Theoretically yes, which is why the Royal Society, a group of renowned British scientists, wants to see a worldwide ban on human cloning.

Q. Isn't human cloning banned here
A.
Yes, we are one of the few countries which have taken a stand against reproductive cloning. Many other countries haven't even addressed the issue, but some are following our lead. Just this week, France adopted a draft law to ban human cloning in medical research.

Q. Has�any country said they would clone humans

A. A person rather than a country is causing concern. He's Professor Severino Antinori, an Italian specialist in reproductive medicine. He has said that he intends to be the first person to clone a human being, and that he'll do it within two years. He hasn't specified which country he'll work in.

Q. Why is he being taken seriously

A. His claims are being taken seriously because of his skills in in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Unfortunately, he would also be helped by the UK's continuing research into therapeutic cloning.

Q. What's that
A.
Therapeutic cloning, which is permitted in this country, creates early human embryos (around 100 or so cells) for stem cell research. Stem cells have the potential to grow a person's own tissue which can then be 'farmed' to be used for repair - for nerve, bone, skin or heart muscle, or to treat injuries or disease. The Royal Society is anxious that therapeutic cloning should continue. It said that a ban on therapeutic cloning in Britain would not prevent foreign reproductive cloning, but would set back the development of powerful new treatments.

Do you think that reproductive cloning should ever be allowed Post your opinion here

By Sheena Miller

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