UK Cloning Controversy

It's a brave new world in Britain, the first country in the world to legalize limited cloning of human embryos. A cloning clause was included in a piece of legislation, which allows the destruction of embryos for stem cell research. Stem cells are extremely useful for many medical applications since they can mature into any type of cell in the body, be it a liver cell, brain cell, muscle cell, etc. Researchers hope stem cells will provide the basis for cures for hundreds of diseases, and to create perfect matches for transplants. Currently, the best source of stem cells is from human embryos, which is very controversial. This is why researchers want to pursue cloning embryos as a source for stem cells.

The British legislation states the cloned embryos would have to be destroyed after 14 days, but right-to-life groups are fighting the legislation. Opponents say there are loopholes in the law that could lead to the creation of cloned babies.

Explore More: Genetic Engineering
Copyright 2004, Iowa Public Television
The Explore More project is supported by funds from the
Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
and the USDE Star Schools Program.