The man who brought us Dolly the sheep is to be allowed to clone human embryos for medical research. Born in 1996, Dolly was the world’s first successfully cloned mammal. Her creator, Professor Ian Wilmut, now plans to use the same techniques in the fight against human disease.
“Human beings have been changing the world around them for a very long time, in general, to good effect,” he said. “We all take for granted the very much healthier life that we have now than people had 100 years ago.”
“We know from survey information that the majority of people support this sort of research.” The scientist, based in Scotland, plans to obtain stem cells for research into Motor Neurone Disease, an incurable muscle-wasting condition. is only the second time authorities in Britain have granted such a licence.
Human reproductive cloning is illegal in the country but therapeutic cloning, creating embryos as a source of stem cells to cure diseases, is allowed on an approved basis. However the procedure divides the medical world, with opponents arguing that it is unethical.