To clone or not to clone -- whither the law?
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 1999; 18(1): 107-123
The cloning of Dolly the lamb from adult cells by scientists at the Roslin Laboratories near Edinburgh in February 1997 has startled the world because it now opens the way to clone adult human beings. The reaction to Ian Wilmut's breakthrough has been instant and largely negative. Bills were rushed into both the US Senate and House of Representatives aimed at banning the cloning of human beings. Human cloning is premature at this stage, but there are many positive spin-offs of cloning in the field of genetic engineering, such as the production of human proteins such as blood clotting factors which aid in healing wounds. Progress by means of cloning can also be made into devising a cure for Parkinson's Disease amongst others. No lesser ethicist than John C. Fletcher of the University of Virginia foresees circumstances in which human cloning is acceptable e.g. to enable a couple to replace a dying child, to enable a couple, one of whom is infertile, to clone a child from either partner. Extensive regulation of cloning by the law is inevitable but, in doing so, the legislation should be careful not to outlaw research in this area which could be beneficial to mankind.
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