Gerald Schatten, Ph.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and cell biology and physiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will join South Korean researchers Woo Suk Hwang, D.V.M., Ph.D., and Shin Yong Moon, M.D., in a panel discussion of scientific and ethical issues surrounding cloning research on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the 60th annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Scientific sessions will take place Oct. 16-20 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
In February, Drs. Hwang and Moon from Seoul National University, reported the successful harvesting of human embryonic stem cells from a cloned embryo. The cloning symposium, called "Assisted Regenerative Medicine: The Future of ART?" and chaired by Linda Giudice, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
"Human reproductive cloning is unsafe, unethical and ought to be illegal everywhere in the world," said Dr. Schatten, who also is director of the Pittsburgh Development Center at the Magee-Womens Research Institute. "But a ban on all forms of human cloning sends the wrong signal to the scientific community; it stigmatizes the research and will slow the pace of discoveries for decades to come."
Dr. Schatten, who testified before U.N. delegates on the issue in June, is close to the debate because he has been trying to clone primates, which belong to the same overall species classification as humans. The implications of any success for the prospects of human cloning are clear, and Dr. Schatten is exploring ways to make sure that if he succeeds, others wo