There will be no human clones this century because the work is dangerous, complicated and unethical, the South Korea scientist at the forefront of stem cell research and cloning technology said on Tuesday.
“I don’t think we will have any chance to meet a cloned human being within the next 100 years, at least,” said Woo-Suk Hwang, the head of a team of South Korean scientists who cloned the first human embryo to use for research.
Speaking at a panel discussion, Hwang denounced human cloning as foolish and unsafe science.
“Cloning a human being is nonsense. Briefly, it is not ethical, it is not safe at all, and it’s technically impossible,” Hwang said.
Hwang made news around the world last month for a breakthrough that fulfils one of the basic promises of using cloning technology in stem cell research — that a piece of skin could be taken from a patient and used to grow stem cells.
Researchers believe the stem cells could be trained to provide tailored tissue and organ transplants to cure juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and even to repair severed spinal cords.
Hwang has said his work does not involve human cloning, but using eggs harvested from human females to create cells that can never become an actual human being.
Last month, President Bush expressed concern about Hwang’s research and threatened to veto legislation that would loosen restrictions on U.S. government funding of embryonic stem cell research.
“I’m very concerned about cloning,” Bush said at the time. “I worry about a world in which cloning would be acceptable.”
In response, Hwang said last month that while he had respect for Bush’s views for their theological and political values, he also said they represented a “peculiar policy” that hampered U.S. research.