Stem cells, he says, may be used one day to cure diseases
The News-Press, Apr. 4, 2003
By DENES HUSTY III
The reason is that “you’re using old or damaged DNA (from an adult) to try and make something new,” he said.
Granted, Dolly the sheep was made by taking DNA from a grown sheep’s udder, which was transplanted into a sheep’s egg and then stimulated by some electricity, Caplan said.
The problem is Dolly had to be put to to death in February at age 6 because of premature aging and disease. And it took 477 attempts to make Dolly, Caplan said.
There has never been the successful cloning of higher animals like primates, much less a dog or cat, Caplan said.
The bottom line is that “humans aren’t cloneable” despite what “some kooks, cults and con men say,” Caplan said.
The only successful human clones occur naturally — identical twins, which come about when an embryo splits, he said.
Cloning human embryos — like Dolly’s embryo was made — though, is perfect for stem cell research, Caplan said.
Because the cloned embryo doesn’t stand a chance of becoming a human being, that eliminates the religious, moral and ethical arguments that the research, in effect, destroys human beings, Caplan said.
The stem cells from the embryos could, however, be used to perhaps one day reproduce human cells to cure Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and spinal cord injuries, for example, he said.