Call the Clone Doctor
April 10, 2003 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Call the Clone Doctor! In the June issue of Reproductive BioMedicine Online Panayiotis Zavos announced a group has produced "the first human cloned embryo for reproductive purposes". He is leaving his position as professor of animal sciences in the agriculture department of the University of Kentucky (USA) to join the organization responsible for the embryo. He's no johnny-come-lately -- he stated his plans last year.
posted by ?! (6 comments total)
Links for your pleasure: HumanCloning.Org, New Scientist clone topics, previous MeFi human clone topics: Ugly Doctors, Cult Clones, Newsfilter Clones , Phantom Clones and Greasepaint Clones
posted by ?! at 8:47 PM on April 10, 2003

An NPR report today discussed a conflicting study that seems to doom human cloning using currently envisioned methods:

But Schatten found that in monkey eggs, when chromosomes are removed, crucial proteins are inevitably removed with them. These egg proteins are necessary for an embryo to develop normally. With the proteins missing from the egg, the inserted chromosomes can't function properly.

"The net result is that you end up with an egg that doesn't have the machinery to separate chromosomes accurately," says Schatten. In a sense, the egg is "almost paralyzed, so the embryo that results has no reproductive potential."

posted by machaus at 8:57 PM on April 10, 2003

They grew an embryo (possibly a clone) for 4 days. That was done 2 years ago. But this is "for reproductive purposes." What does that mean? It means, "we wanted to be first, but someone beat us to it by 2 years, so we'll repackage what we did as 'novel' in a meaningless way because we are whores to fame."

I think if they ever get to creating healthy and normal humans by cloning, there are going to be lots and lots of severely messed up babies and kids along the way.
posted by shoos at 1:36 AM on April 11, 2003

shoos: I agree. I've never been the "this wasn't meant to be" sort, but I hope we never solve the problems with cloning humans. You want a kid? Try old-fashioned way: mix your DNA with another's and see what develops. (Note: this includes lab aided mixing.)

"whores to fame": I wish I had been that succinct.
posted by ?! at 5:16 AM on April 11, 2003

Bah. Doom-say all you like. We'll see who's laughing when I'm first in the queue to download my brain to my younger, replicated self.

More seriously, I wouldn't take the new claims against the feasibility of cloning humans too closely to heart. It would be surprising to me if the protein situation in humans were much different from the situation with lower mammals, like sheep. Remember that it took us something like a hundred years to figure out that brain cells reproduce just like any other tissue in the body. This is new research, and miracles are known to happen, almost frequently, in biomedical research.

Does that mean this guy is for real? Not at all. Probably just some coke-sniffing wierdo like the rest of us, out to be the Neil Armstrong of the womb, planting that flag deep in the tissue of the wall, unmoving in all of those womb fluids... Let him have his day, sucking in the controversy. We've not seen the end of this, though.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:16 AM on April 11, 2003

It would be surprising to me if the protein situation in humans were much different from the situation with lower mammals, like sheep.

Last I checked, I was a primate and subject to the same issues that Schatten describes.
posted by machaus at 6:36 AM on April 11, 2003

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