Local News Update

Are you being cloned ?

The creation last year of Dolly the cloned sheep jolted the public into realising human replication had moved from the realms of science fiction to become possible, probable or inevitable. Now a Chicago physicist and fertility researcher, aptly, sadly or ironically named Richard Seed, has said he's ready to do it within 18 months if he can get financial backing. The spectre of Seed's prediction that up to 200,000 human clones would be produced annually once his process is perfected seems frighteningly feasible.

Many people still have reservations about genetically tinkering with animals, though it is more than 24 years since the first embryo transplant calf was born on a farm near Hamilton. It's also about 20 years since the first in-vitro baby was born in Britain. Many who oppose designer babies make it clear they are not opposed to medical research and reproductive technology which may duplicate individual organs, prevent hereditary disease, or assist childless couples to have babies. But inseparable from the benefits human cloning advocates hail, are ethical and social considerations which must come first. There are dangers of exploitation inherent in the commercialisation of reproduction. The controversial Dr Seed himself has said he wouldn't mind having 5000 patients lined up, and agrees money is part of his motivation.