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'Human cloning immoral'

Reproductive cloning of human beings is immoral, says Alan Colman, one of the scientists who helped create the first cloned sheep, Dolly. He was recently in Bangalore at the 3rd annual biotech trade show.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2003 15:36 IST

Alan Colman, one of the scientists who helped create the first cloned sheep, Dolly, was recently in Bangalore. Colman, who was one of the key speakers at Bio 2003, the third annual biotechnology trade show, said that the reproductive cloning of human beings was immoral.

"Well, it depends, whether you mean, how ethical it is, whether it is applied to humans or animals. I have always been very comfortable with its application to animals with the usual constraints like making sure the animals don't suffer unnecessarily in the studies. I have always also been consistent in thinking it was immoral to extend the reproductive cloning to human beings," he said.

He, however, added that it would be very soon that people would agree with the concept, like every other scientific experiment which does receive negative responses during the initial stages. "I think it's undoubtedly true that people can misuse any scientific development, we only have to look at kidney transplantation, pioneered about 30 years ago. When it was initiated people thought it was terrible, but nowadays people think it's a very good thing," said Colman.

Speaking about the death of Dolly, he said that there was no evidence that Dolly's death was related to her being cloned. One of the most noted advancements in genetic issues occurred when "Dolly" the sheep was born on February 24, 1997 in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was cloned from a cell of another sheep.

The successful cloning of the sheep was one of the most dramatic recent examples of a scientific discovery becoming a public issue. In February this year, Dolly was put down after developing a progressive lung disease.

Clonaid, an organization to clone humans established by a religious group, the Raelians, last year had announced the birth of "Eve", the first cloned baby girl, who was born to an American woman.

First Published: Jul 01, 2003 15:36 IST