A small, privately funded laboratory near Boston claims to have cloned human embryos, sparking a controversy that reaches to the nation's moral foundation.
Hoping to forestall criticism, scientists for Advanced Cell Technology say they have no intention of trying to clone a person and are interested only in treating disease. Yet cloning to create stem cell lines, as the lab claims to have done, requires the destruction of human embryos.
Regardless of their intentions, what ACT scientists have done is morally wrong, as President Bush asserted on Monday. ''We should not, as a society, grow life to destroy it,'' he said.
Whatever the substance of the research, it underscores the fact that no federal law currently governs cloning. In August, Bush approved federal funding for research limited to existing stem cell lines. That restriction has been criticized by research proponents who fear that existing cell lines will be insufficient to develop cures for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other crippling diseases. The House legislation has been criticized on the same grounds. It should be noted, however, that despite all of the promises of cures, none has yet been developed.
For now at least, science is taking a different track -- the wrong one.
-- The Indianapolis Star
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