British Scientist Who Created Dolly Won’t Engage in Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 19, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Scientist Who Created Dolly Won’t Engage in Human Cloning Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 19,

London, England ( — The internationally known scientist who created Dolly the sheep has said he will not use his cloning techniques to pursue human cloning. Professor Ian Wilmut’s decision is sending shockwaves throughout the scientific world and has pro-life advocates rejoicing that one researcher won’t put human life at risk.

Wilmut and his team made headlines around the world when they cloned Dolly.

Their scientific breakthrough wasn’t entirely a success as Dolly was condemned by many observers as a complete failure in cloning science.

Dolly was finally created after 300 failed attempts, resulting in miscarriages and malformed offspring. Ultimately, the "successful" result, Dolly, aged too rapidly and had to be euthanized.

Wilmut received a license from the British government tow years ago to clone human embryos but he now says he won’t pursue it.

He says a new method pioneered by Japanese scientists has better potential for creating embryonic stem cells by growing them from a patient’s own cells and forgoing the destruction of human life.

"I decided a few weeks ago not to pursue nuclear transfer," Wilmut told the London Telegraph newspaper.

He said the Japanese approach is "easier to accept socially" given the opposition from pro-life advocates to human cloning.

Professor Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University has shown he can turn mice cells into versatile stem cells capable of overcoming disease. It reverts adult stem cells to their embryonic state.

Dorinda Bordlee, senior counsel for the Bioethics Defense Fund, in the United States, told that the news of Wilmut’s decision is a victory for the pro-life movement. It could also change the face of the stem cell research debate, she said.

"The promising scientific potential and morally permissible method that Dr. Wilmut will now pursue could bring all sides together in a common effort which could prove to be the next revolution in medical history," Bordlee explained.

Bordlee noted that "this announcement underscores that no civilized society need create human life to be destroyed as raw material for lab experiments."

"This is a victory for science and the dignity of human life that will play an earthshaking role in upcoming bioethics debates in legislatures, ballot initiatives and political contests," Bordlee told

Bioethics Defense Fund president and general counsel Nikolas T. Nikas added that "This positive development shows that the efforts of pro-life citizens and leaders have not been in vain."

"The BDF legal team will redouble our efforts to educate lawmakers across the nation and the world about the necessity of enacting comprehensive bans on human cloning," he said.

Related web sites:
Bioethics Defense Fund –