AAAS Urges United Nations
to Endorse Cloning for Research Purposes
AAAS, the world's largest general
science society, urged the United Nations to support embryonic
cloning for research or "therapeutic" purposes,
but ban all efforts to use cloning for human reproduction.
"AAAS, along with most of the world's mainstream scientists,
endorses a legally enforceable ban on any efforts to clone
a human being," said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive
officer of AAAS and executive publisher of its journal, Science. "Our
fear of reproductive cloning is understandable and appropriate.
But, we must not allow those concerns to block medical advances
that may someday be achieved through other kinds of research
that involve cloned cells. AAAS urges the United Nations to
support research cloning methods intended to alleviate human
suffering caused by injuries and disease."
What is research cloning, and how is it different from reproductive
cloning? Both involve a technique called nuclear transplantation-replacing
the nucleus of a donor's egg with the DNA from an adult cell.
Under certain conditions, the resulting entity will begin developing
like a fertilized egg. In reproductive cloning, the entity
is implanted into a uterus, where it has the potential to develop
into a full organism; a clone of the donor of the adult cell.
In research cloning, the entity is not implanted in a uterus.
Instead, after several days, researchers harvest embryonic
stem cells, which theoretically can develop into any type of
cell and, according to many researchers, may someday be used
to treat neurodegenerative diseases or other conditions.#
Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement
of Science (AAAS) has worked to advance science for human well-being
through its projects, programs and publications in the areas
of science policy, science education and international scientific