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Lack of coherent cloning policies reflects polarized debate, limited understanding, study says

WASHINGTON (May 19, 2005) The confusing welter of state laws regarding human cloning for reproductive purposes and for research uses reflects a national political impasse on regulating cloning, according to a new report by The Genetics & Public Policy Center, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins University. This lack of a national consensus comes at a time when rapid advances in cloning technology make crafting broader public policy increasingly urgent, the report notes. "While human cloning technology is still in its infancy, the science is outpacing the public's understanding and the formulation of coherent public policy," it warns.

"Scientists have cloned cows, cats, and human embryos," says Kathy Hudson, director of the Center. "Meanwhile, the public and policymakers have reached a political impasse we're embroiled in a complex and divisive ethical and policy debate that too often is rushed and emotionally charged. We hope this report will contribute to public understanding and to the development of sound science policy."

The Center's report, "Cloning: A Policy Analysis" is the most recent comprehensive analysis of the science of cloning (including stem cell research), the moral and ethical arguments that frame the cloning debate, and rapidly changing policies at the state, federal, and international levels. The report also details new public opinion data that reflect high awareness about cloning in general but limited understanding of its scientific feasibility.

RAPIDLY EVOLVING SCIENCE LANDSCAPE

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is the technique currently in use to create embryos that are genetically identical to another animal or person, the report explains. Research cloning has been used in the laboratory to derive human stem cells from cloned embryos; their nuclear genome is identical to that of the source of the donated nucleus. Therapeutic cloning refers to the potential use of s
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Contact: Rick Borchelt
GPPCnews@jhu.edu
202-663-5971
Genetics & Public Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University
19-May-2005


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