Humans are Next in a Country Without Regulations

MONTREAL, Apr 27 ( – Nexia Biotechnologies Inc., a Montreal genetics company headed by Dr. Jeffrey Turner a former McGill University genetics professor, announced yesterday that they had successfully cloned three goats from the single cell of an adult goat. The goats are the only known mammals cloned since Dolly the sheep in 1997 and have again raised fears of human cloning. The company plans to use cells from the cloned goats and genetically alter them using spider genes and e-clone them so that the new genetically altered goats will produce medicinally beneficial milk.

The fact that Canada is leading the way in this ethical nightmare is no surprise since Canada is one of the few countries where, as with abortion, there is no law restricting or regulating “new reproductive technologies (NRT).” Despite a 5-year, $28 million Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies in 1993, which recommended the urgent need for legislation on the issue, nothing has been done in Canada.

Ethicist Dr. Patricia Baird, who chaired the Royal Commission, while herself agreeing with many NRT applications including the use of aborted baby tissues to treat Parkinson’s disease, is adamant that legislation is needed. “We need to make sure we have legislation [so that] cloning is not used for exploitative uses of people,” Baird told the National Post, referring to the birth of the goats as a”clarion call” for action.

Genetic manipulation of animal embryos has already led to glow-in-the-dark mice as well as super-muscular, and hair-less mice. Using germline therapy with frog embryos scientists have suppressed the growth of the head creating living headless creatures. Such manipulation is also possible with humans given the advent of stem cell research, say some researchers.

Prof. John Gearhart of John Hopkins University pioneered the controversial work with human stem cells which requires, at least initially, the use of aborted babies. At the time of his ‘breakthrough’ in 1997 Gearhart said “We can now alter the germline of the human. There is no question that these (stem) cells have all of the properties that would allow us to do it.” Gearhart admitted that while ethically unacceptable, “there are a lot of private donors out there who would not bat an eyelid at putting money towards this kind of thing.” “The only laws that are on the books deal with federally funded research,” he said.

For more on Canada’s role in New Reproductive Technology see:


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