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Dolly the sheep
The sheep that shook the world.
On Human Cloning: Three Views

The birth of Dolly, the first mammal cloned from the cell of an adult animal, sent intellectual and emotional shockwaves around the world when it was reported in early 1997. What's next? commentators asked. Could human beings now begin making carbon copies of themselves? If so, will those with the means use cloning to essentially cheat mortality? Could a form of the eugenics espoused by the Nazis now become reality if, say, a rogue government so chose? The cloning of human beings, many concluded, would be biologically wrong, socially misguided, and morally and ethically repugnant.

Yet some scientists began touting the enormous benefits that human cloning might bring. These include helping infertile couples who have had no luck with other infertility treatments to have children or allowing a parent bearing a gene for a debilitating disease such as Huntington's chorea to avoid passing the gene onto his or her child. In theory, specialists could also use cloning to grow embryonic stem cells into vital organs, blood, or tissue, which doctors could then use for transplants, transfusions, and other replacement interventions.

Here we present three points of view on this highly contentious issue. All three scientists are experts on the subject who all have the same facts at their disposal. Yet Dr. Lee Silver, a Princeton molecular biologist, remains bullish on the idea of cloning humans, while Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, professor of biology at MIT, just as adamantly opposes the idea, under any circumstances. Dr. Don Wolf, a senior scientist at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, falls somewhere in between—that is, he has serious reservations but is not opposed in principle. Read these interviews and decide for yourself.

Dr. Lee Silver
Dr. Don Wolf
Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch

Photos: (1) Corbis Images; (2) Courtesy of Dr. Silver; (3) Courtesy of Dr. Wolf; (4) Bachrach Images.

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