Yahoo! News – Dolly Scientist Gets Human Cloning License

Yahoo! News – Dolly Scientist Gets Human Cloning License: “By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – The British government Tuesday gave the creator of Dolly the Sheep a license to clone human embryos for medical research into the cause of motor neuron disease.

Ian Wilmut, who led the team that created Dolly at Scotland’s Roslin Institute in 1996, and motor neuron expert Christopher Shaw of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, plan to clone embyros to study how nerve cells go awry to cause the disease. The experiments do not involve creating cloned babies.”

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As I understand it, they’ll use the same technique (nuclear replacement) to create cells that are an exact genetic duplicate of cells from people with incurable diseases (muscle wasting in this case), grow an embryo from that, get stem cells from the cloned embryo, and study those cells to see how the disease progresses.

That would give them a model system for the disease, which will hopefully lead to a treatment. So the cloning and stem cells would not be used in the actual treatment (thought that is another potential use). More likely, they will find where the development pathway goes wrong and make a drug to prevent it from going off-track.

Plot-wise, you could have a society so in fear of, oh, I don’t know, terrorism, that they start mucking with developmental pathways of everyone (well, the next generation at least) to make the world less aggressive. Where does that lead? A utopia? A Brave New World? Who knows?

Or maybe they are evil and try to stamp out things they percieve as diseases like homosexuality, voting for Democrats, and separation of church and state.

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