Australia licenses cloning human embryos

The Australian government has issued its first license allowing scientists to create cloned human embryos to try and obtain embryonic stem cells. The in vitro-fertilization firm Sydney IVF was granted the license and reportedly has access to 7,200 human eggs for its research. If the firm is successful it would be a world first.

Scientists in other countries have made stem cells they believe are similar to embryonic cells using a variety of techniques, but none have been able to extract embryonic stem cells from cloned human embryos.

An Australian ban on the research, known as therapeutic cloning or somatic cell nuclear transfer, was lifted in December 2006 after a rare conscience vote in the national parliament…Human cloning for reproductive purposes is banned…

Initially, any stem cells extracted would be used to test new drugs to fight diseases such as muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease, and later therapeutic cloning would be used to produce body tissue matched to patients.

The short answer is “Overdue”. Ethical considerations are always part of serious scientific advances. That doesn’t require politicians and priests.

One thought on “Australia licenses cloning human embryos

  1. moss says:

    Overdue is certainly the appropriate word. Here in the U.S., we can only hope for a government with courage and forethought enough to set aside the theocratic bullshit we’ve been burdened with these past eight years.

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