Genetic scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation lab claimed a major breakthrough in early October, reporting that for the first time they had used cloning techniques to produce embryonic stem cells which contain the genes of specific individuals. “The cells weren’t normal,” the Los Angeles Times explained — ”they contained three sets of chromosomes: two from the adult cell and an extra from the egg. They would not be fit for use in stem cell therapies.” Nonetheless, continued the report, the controversial creation “marked a first in stem cell research and may point the way toward treatments for diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.”
One fellow stem cell researcher, Lawrence Goldstein of the University of California-San Diego, applauded the news, telling the Washington Post: “I think it will teach us a lot of how to control the generation of all the different cell types that we would like to study and use for therapy. I think it’s a really exciting development.”
But Daniel P. Sulmasy, a professor of medicine and ethics at the University of Chicago, pointed out that the researchers were toying with human life, a troubling reality. “They have created human embryos,” Sulmasy told the Washington Post.
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Photo: New York Stem Cell Foundation website