South Korean Cloning Scientist Says No Clones This Century

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 7, 2005

Seoul, South Korea ( — A South Korean scientist says there will be no human clones this century, even though he’s already cloned human beings to kill for research purposes. Woo-Suk Hwang, however, was referring only to human cloning done for reproductive purposes.

"I don’t think we will have any chance to meet a cloned human being within the next 100 years, at least," Hwang said at a panel discussion on Tuesday.

He denounced human cloning as foolish and unsafe, according to a Reuters report.

"Cloning a human being is nonsense. Briefly, it is not ethical, it is not safe at all, and it’s technically impossible," Hwang said.

But that’s just what Hwang did when he used a human cloning technique to make made embryonic stem cells able to match an individual patient. Once the human embryos were cloned, they were destroyed for the stem cells.

Last month, Hwang claimed what he did does not constitute human cloning.

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

According to the unanimous conclusion of the scientists and researchers on the President’s Council on Bioethics, the act of human SCNT creates a "cloned human embryo."

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

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 human being is destroyed.

A new poll shows 75 percent of Americans strongly oppose the use of human cloning for any reason. Whether human cloning is used for reproductive purposes or to produce human embryos to be destroyed for their embryonic stem cells, like Hwang has done, most Americans oppose it.

International Communications Research conducted a national survey of 1,000 Americans by telephone on May 6-11.

When asked whether scientists should "be allowed to use human cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be destroyed in medical research" an overwhelming 77 percent disagreed. Just 15 percent of Americans supported human cloning to advance embryonic stem cell research.

Asked if scientists should "be allowed to use human cloning to try to create children for infertile couples," just 10 percent said yes while 84 percent of Americans said no.

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