Tracking every egg? AAAS report lists practical options for regulating human cloning

Practical regulatory options and research concerns related to cloning--from a U.K.-like system for "tracking every egg" to maintaining strict boundaries between fertility clinics and cloning laboratories--are the subject of a report released today by AAAS, the science society.

Regulating Human Cloning outlines the results of a recent workshop that brought together scientists, policymakers and others. Participants explored options for regulating human research cloning to support medical advances--while preventing efforts to clone people, or "reproductive" cloning.

"AAAS, along with most of the world's mainstream scientists, endorses a legally enforceable ban on any efforts to clone a baby," said Alan I. Leshner, the Association's chief executive officer and executive publisher of Science. "Our fear of reproductive cloning is understandable and appropriate. But, we must not allow those concerns to block medical advances that may someday be achieved through other kinds of research that involve cloned cells. The recent AAAS workshop was an important first step toward identifying options to ensure that research cloning occurs in the safest, most responsible manner possible."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) workshop was intended to stimulate dialogue among those with diverse views. It therefore steers clear of making consensus recommendations, and instead lists options.

For example, to support responsible research cloning, one workshop group proposed that:

  • Research cloning methods should be approved only following animal studies;
  • All donors must provide informed consent;
  • The cloned embryo must not be allowed to develop beyond 14 days;
  • Regulations should protect privacy and confidentiality of data; and
  • A system must be established to track and monitor the research products.

To prevent human clones, one option discussed by attendees would ensure that


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