Human Exceptionalism

Cloning Obfuscation 2

The junk biology is flying in the media’s descriptions of the now accomplished human cloning. This next example comes from the Wall Street Journal’s Gautam Naik. From the ridiculously titled, “Experiment Brings Human Cloning One Step Closer:”

Scientists have used cloning technology to transform human skin cells into embryonic stem cells, an experiment that may revive the controversy over human cloning. The researchers stopped well short of creating a human clone. But they showed, for the first time, that it is possible to create cloned embryonic stem cells that are genetically identical to the person from whom they are derived.

NO. THEY EXPLICITLY CREATED A HUMAN CLONE! That’s what SCNT cloning does; creates a cloned embryo. A cloned embryo–like a natural embryo–is an individual organism, a member of its (in this case, human) species.

Once the SCNT is done, the cloning is over. After that, the question becomes not whether to clone, but what to do with the embryo that was created through the cloning process. These scientists destroyed the embryos and derived stem cell lines. 

In fact, don’t take my word for it. Let’s have the authors of the paper describe it. From the Cell paper:

Most embryos…formed one or two pronuclei at the time of removal from TSA, whereas a slightly higher portion of embryos cleaved…suggesting that some SCNT embryos did not exhibit visible pronuclei at the time of examination… Most cleaved embryos developed to the eight-cell stage…but few progressed to compact morula…and blastocyst..stages. Activation of embryonic genes and transcription from the transplanted somatic cell nucleus are required for development of SCNT embryos beyond the eight-cell stage…Therefore, these results are consistent with the premise that our modified SCNT protocol supports reprogramming of human somatic cells to the embryonic state.

Media: Get it right, or don’t get it at all!

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