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Cloning Revisited
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South Korean scientist have been able to accomplish what our scientists, handcuffed by paranoia, politics, and moral hypocrisy, have not been able to really pursue:

South Korean researchers reported Thursday they have created human embryos through cloning and extracted embryonic stem cells, the universal cells that scientists expect will result in breakthroughs in medical research.

This is great's good to know science is marching on in this area, but somewhat depressing to realize there's going to be a mismatch between expertise at home and abroad if other countries are allowing such research to proceed unimpeded while our attempts are hampered.

I still find it odd that nearly everyone, including researchers actually working on human cloning, find more ethical problems with therapeutic cloning rather than reproductive cloning. As I've said before, there are great risks involved, large failure rates, and high risks of malformed or mutated offspring with natural childbirth. And research into in-vitro fertilization went ahead, despite very high failure rates and risks of malformed fetuses.

The idea is to learn more to be able to mitigate such risks. It is quite possible that human cloning research could help identify, isolate, and prevent many of the developmental problems that occur with natural childbirth.

And it seems inherently strange to me that people have less of a problem with creating an embryo marked for destruction, which is what happens if stem cells are harvested for therapeutic cloning, rather than creating a cloned embryo with the intent of keeping it alive and trying to successfully help it develop into a viable adult.

If anything, there should be more sticky moral questions regarding therapeutic cloning than reproductive cloning, though I don't see the moral questions ultimately as an impediment to either, given the enormous potential benefits.

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