A brave, moral argument for cloning and its power to fight disease.
A timely investigation into the ethics, history, and potential of human cloning from Professor Ian Wilmut, who shocked scientists, ethicists, and the public in 1997 when his team unveiled Dolly—that very special sheep who was cloned from a mammary cell. With award-winning science journalist Roger Highfield, Wilmut explains how Dolly launched a medical revolution in which cloning is now used to make stem cells that promise effective treatments for many major illnesses. Dolly's birth also unleashed an avalanche of speculation about the eventuality of cloning babies, which Wilmut strongly opposes. However, he does believe that scientists should one day be allowed to combine the cloning of human embryos with genetic modification to free families from serious hereditary disease. In effect, he is proposing the creation of genetically altered humans. 20 illustrations.
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Ian Wilmut, formerly of the Roslin Institute in Scotland where Dolly was cloned, is now a professor at the University of Edinburgh and has given evidence and testimony to governmental agencies, Congress, and the United Nations. Roger Highfield is the science editor of The Daily Telegraph in Britain and the author of several books.From Scientific American:
"Fictional fascination with cloning has rarely focused on scientific fact but usually on issues of identity and how the sanctity of life will be challenged when 'ditto machines' of one kind or another create 'cookie cutter humans.' This obsession has led to endless confusion about what is possible and what is not." So writes Wilmut, leader of the team that 10 years ago cloned Dolly, the first animal created from an adult cell. He and Highfield, science editor of the Daily Telegraph in England, set out to separate fact from fiction. They succeed beautifully and go on to provide a forceful moral argument for cloning and its power to fight, and even eradicate, some of the most terrible diseases in existence. At the same time, this pioneer of cloning remains staunch in his opposition to using the procedure for human reproduction.
The book, despite its weighty concerns, avoids a moralizing tone and is exceedingly pleasant to read. To give a taste of the style: in explaining the arthritis that developed in Dolly's knee--unrelated, so far as they can tell, to cloning--the authors conclude that perhaps the condition "was inevitable for a corpulent sheep who had been indulged all her life and liked to stand up and beg on her rear legs."
Editors of Scientific American
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