LONDON, September 28, 2004 ( – Dolly the Sheep’s creator, Ian Wilmut, announced Tuesday he was seeking permission to clone people – even though he vowed he would not seek to clone humans when publicizing his Dolly clone results.

Wilmut, who leads a team of researchers at Scotland’s Rosland Institute, cloned the first animal, Dolly the sheep, from adult cells in 1996. He announced Tuesday that his group had applied for a licence to clone humans for the purpose of studying motor neuron disease. “We owe it to the people who suffer from it and are going to suffer from it in the future to try and develop treatments for them,” he told the Associated Press.  On the heels of his Dolly success, Salon Magazine interviewed Wilmut in 1997. Wilmut was asked: “And does [cloning an animal] mean that cloning humans is possible?” Wilmut responded: “We don’t know. It is quite likely that it is possible, yes. But what we’ve said all along—speaking for both the (Roslin) Institute and the PPL [drug company that sponsored Wilmut’s research] staff—is that we would find it ethically unacceptable to think of doing that. We can’t think of a reason to do it. If there was a reason to copy a human being, we would do it, but there isn’t.”  Britain became the first country to make so-called therapeutic cloning legal in 2001. The first license to clone a human person was granted last month to a Newcastle University group hoping to create an insulin-dependent diabetes cure.  So far, no studies using embryonic stem cells have yielded positive results for the treatment of any disease. Many scientists, Wilmut included, have acknowledged that embryonic stem cells have zero utility for the treatment of disease. Wilmut’s team plans to use the embryonic children to study their genetics, rather than as a source of cells for the treatment of motor neuron disease.  Read the 1997 Salon Magazine interview:

Read the related report:  Dolly’s Cloner Will Create Human Clone Of Lou Gehrig Patient For Research   tv


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