Scientist Who Helped Clone Dolly Says Australia Should Keep Cloning Ban

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientist Who Helped Clone Dolly Says Australia Should Keep Cloning Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 67 2006

Canberra, Australia ( — A scientist who helped the research team that cloned Dolly the sheep says Australia should keep its current ban on all forms of human cloning. The comments come at a time when some members of the nation’s parliament are trying to overturn the ban to allow human cloning for research purposes.

Dr. Alan Colman says he has ethical concerns about human cloning and trying to replicate human embryonic stem cells.

He indicated that current processes require too many human eggs and was too labor intensive. Scientists, pro-life groups and women’s groups have been concerned that women could be exploited for their eggs for research.

"The ethical problem is not the embryo it is the human egg donor," he said, according to a Daily Telegraph news report.

"Most people go through the donor program OK but it is not a technique without problems," he explained. "It’s a surgical technique which has had side effects in the past. It’s more invasive than just giving blood."

Prime Minister John Howard yesterday ruled out a conscience vote on human cloning and said his government does not support any changes to the current ban on the practice.

Colman, who is now head of the Singapore-based regenerative medicine company ES Cell International, said the ban on human cloning would allow scientists to perfect the cloning process.

"I’m not one to slow down research but you have to ask is it worth pursuing with current techniques or better to wait for other technologies," he said. "[Human cloning] is a technique that could be useful but I think it’s a bit crude and inefficient at the moment."

"The balance of probability of the process working against the aspect of human donors giving eggs is just not good enough," he added, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.