FDA Says It Can, Will Regulate Human Cloning
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 20) -- Spurred by a Chicago scientist's announcement that he wants to clone a human, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has the authority to regulate human cloning, and will block anyone who tries it without permission.
The scientist, Richard Seed, jumped into the public eye with his announcement he wants to clone a human within 18 months. Trained as a physicist, Seed has no medical degree or laboratory support, so his plan may be far-fetched.
But the FDA said it can go to court to stop unauthorized cloning attempts. "We're not only able to move, we're prepared to move," Dr. Michael Friedman, acting FDA commissioner, told The Associated Press.
"One man [Seed] who's on the fringe has drawn a lot of attention in
Washington and state capitals," Dr. Benjamin Younger of the
American Society for Reproductive Medicine told the AP. "If they are going to do this, come up with legislation that bans cloning but protects research."
President Bill Clinton has urged Congress to ban human cloning, and action is expected in Congress after lawmakers return next week.
But some scientists worry that unless the bills are drafted carefully, legislation could interfere with cloning-related research that might lead eventually to replacement organs or an answer for spinal-cord injuries.
Some scientists praised the FDA's assertion of its regulatory authority, saying it gives some breathing room so legislators have time to move carefully on legislation.