by Steven Ertelt
January 17, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Scientists at a private research firm say they are the first to have successfully cloned a human being, publishing a report in the medical journal Stem Cells to that effect. Researchers at the California-based Stemagen claim to have taken the skin cells from two adult males and implanted the nuclei of those cells in human egg cells.
If the company’s claims are true, they are the first to engage in human cloning, even if only making human embryos in a petri dish.
Samuel Wood of Stemagen Corporation told MSNBC that "it was an amazing experience to look at that blastocyst and realize that it came from one of my cells. It’s a bit like looking at yourself from a long time ago."
The company admitted that the cloned embryos were destroyed and the lab has not been successful in culturing the clone’s embryonic stem cells.
Though the company only wants to clone and kill human embryos for their stem cells, bioethicists worry that there is nothing stopping another company from taking the science and using it to create human clones for reproductive purposes.
Bioethics Defense Fund President Nikolas Nikas told LifeNews.com that this news highlights the necessity of state and federal legislation banning the creation of cloned human embryos for any purpose.
"If true, the creation of human beings at the embryonic stage of life by cloning marks a new and decisive step toward turning human reproduction into a manufacturing process," he said.
"The creation of human embryos for the purpose of exploitation as raw material for lab experiments is grossly immoral and a blatant violation of human dignity," Nikas added.
The scientists said they used genetic tests to determine that the cloned embryos were indeed true clones and that two other human embryos did not age long enough for tests to produce conclusive results.
The scientific world is proceeding cautiously with the news given the fraud involved in 2004 reports that South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk had cloned a human embryo.