South Korean Scientist Bashes Bush on Human Cloning, Stem Cells

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Korean Scientist Bashes President Bush on Human Cloning Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 30, 2005

Seoul, South Korea ( — A South Korean scientist who claims to be the first to clone human beings, destroy them and obtain their stem cells for research criticized President Bush’s views against human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Woo-Suk Hwang, the head of a team of South Korean scientists who cloned the first human embryo for research, says embryonic stem cell research represents a remarkable potential for human advancement and he won’t be stopped by political leaders who oppose his work.

"The scientific effort to resolve the pain of patients with incurable conditions is very honorable, and I believe no mere individual politician or party can stop the historic trend," Hwang told Reuters Sunday at his laboratory at Seoul National University.

"Solving these problems is a common responsibility of humanity," he said.

However, embryonic stem cell research has yet to cure a single patient.

No currently approved treatments are being used on patients as a result of research on the cells and there are no human trials. After 20 years of research on embryonic stem cells, the only results have shown they are unsafe.

In studies, they have produced tumors, cause transplant rejection, and they have formed the wrong kind of needed replacement cells.

President Bush has expressed his concern with Hwang’s research.

"I’m very concerned about cloning," Bush said during a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. "I worry about a world in which cloning would be acceptable.

Hwang told Reuters that Bush’s views are a "peculiar policy," despite a majority of the members of the United Nations approving a measure calling on nations across the world to approve a ban on human cloning for both reproduction and research purposes.

Even people in Hwang’s own country oppose his research and the Korean Christian Bioethics Association released a statement over the weekend saying, "The research by Professor Hwang’s team is a kind of experimentation on live humans who have no power to protect themselves."

In an attempt to draw attention away from his cloning process, Hwang sought to use scientific terms to confuse the nature of his work.

"I firmly reject the term human cloning," Hwang said. "This is a scientific activity called somatic nuclear cell transfer," he told Reuters.

However, according to the unanimous conclusion of the President’s Council on Bioethics, the act of human SCNT creates a "cloned human embryo."

Moreover, as the Council concluded, "The same activity [SCNT] may be undertaken for purposes of producing children or for purposes of scientific and medical investigation and use."

In SCNT, the nucleus of an unfertilized egg is removed and replaced with the nucleus of a body cell. The cell that results is then stimulated to divide and form an embryo of about 150 cells. Embryonic stem cells are extracted from the human embryo, and the embryo is destroyed.

Related web sites:
Playing Word Games With Human Cloning, Stem Cell Research –