News from the Life Sciences today:
“The scientist who controversially created Dolly the sheep is abandoning the cloning of human embryos in stem cell research.
Professor Ian Wilmut, of Edinburgh University, believes a rival method developed in Japan holds the key to curing serious medical conditions.
The move has been welcomed by pro-life ethics groups.
The new method creates stem cells from fragments of skin and removes the need to use human embryos.
Prof Wilmut developed a cloning technique which involved creating stem cells – which have the potential to be grown into any cell in the human body – from human embryos.”
At one level such a shift would lessen the theologically based issues of the direct manipulation of human life because we’d no longer need to use human embryos. On the other hand you still have the ethical questions of using other’s genetic code and body parts – without fully understanding the implications.
It’s one of those areas where I personally need to spend some time getting up to speed. I remember that at General Convention in 2003, amongst all the other events, the Science and Faith group handed out a book on the Episcopal Church’s thinking on bio-ethics. I’ll try to dig around in my pile of stuff and see if I can find it – and see if it’s available anywhere for others to read.
Read the rest here.