Researchers Produce Cloned Monkey Embryos, But All Pregnancies Fail

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 7, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Researchers Produce Cloned Monkey Embryos, But All Pregnancies Fail Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 7, 2004

Pittsburgh, PA ( — Pointing to the likely failures and needless deaths that would accompany human cloning, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh produced 135 cloned money embryos. However, all of the embryos died when they were implanted into surrogate mothers and no pregnancies resulted.

The team produced the cloned monkey embryos in conjunction with a group of scientists from South Korea who say they created the first cloned human embryos.

However, yesterday’s report shows human cloning will be difficult to achieve and will result in hundreds, if not thousands of deaths, of tiny unborn children that pro-life groups predicted.

Ronald Cole-Turner, a biomedical ethicist at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper that the failure affirms the points made by those who oppose reproductive cloning.

"Nature itself seems to be saying to us that reproductive cloning is not going to be an easy step to take," he said.

Calvin Simerly of the Pitt team told the American Society for Cell Biology meeting that scientists were only able to create three unborn monkey who lived beyond the seven day stage.

The researchers were also unable to isolate any stem cell lines from the embryos — pointing to the difficult of embryonic stem cell research.

Gerald Schatten, leader of the Pitt research team, said he is hoping to obtain embryonic stem cells from the monkeys to be able to produce treatments for human and avoid the ethical concerns of embryonic stem cell research on human beings.

The South Korean scientists say they had to create and destroy 30 unborn children after the seven day period in order to obtain stem cells. That figure doesn’t include the unborn children destroyed before that time.