Opposition to human cloning will 'blow over,' scientist says
January 7, 1998
Web posted at: 3:06 p.m. EST (2006 GMT)
In this story:
CHICAGO (CNN) -- A scientist who plans to clone babies for
infertile couples believes any opposition to his work will be
short-lived. "I think it will blow over," Richard G. Seed
told CNN on Wednesday.
"There were an awful lot of people against the automobile,
too," he said in a live interview by telephone from Chicago.
"Any new technology ... creates fear and horror." But as time
passes, human cloning will receive "enthusiastic
endorsement," he said. (331K/30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Seed, who has a Harvard doctorate in physics and has done
fertility research in the past, plans to begin his work on a
human clone within three months . "My target is to produce
a two-month pregnant female (within the next 18 months)," he
If he is barred from pursuing his work in the United States,
Seed said he plans to go to another country. He said he has
talked with officials in Tijuana, Mexico, and also was
considering the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.
In a separate interview with National Public Radio (NPR)
correspondent Joe Palca, , Seed said it was his objective to set up profitable human clone clinics, first in the Chicago
area and then at "10 or 20 other locations" in the U.S. and
"maybe five or six" internationally. (219K/20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
A L S O :
What do you think about cloning? Take our poll!
'Cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious
step in becoming one with God.'
Scientist Richard G. Seed
Seed, who is not a medical doctor, says he has already
assembled a group of doctors willing to work with him and has
four couples who have volunteered to be cloned.
The goal for each of them is to achieve a pregnancy within a
year and a half.
The researchers will use a donor cell from either the mother
or father and test it for genetic abberations, he said.
He declined to name any of the couples and it was not
immediately clear where in the Chicago area Seed planned to
open his proposed clinic. He told USA Today he needs $2
million to begin his privately funded project but has only
raised "a few hundred thousand" dollars.
Human cloning goes under the microscope
Seed plans to use the same technique utilized by Scottish
scientists in 1996 to clone the adult sheep Dolly, the first
mammal cloned from adult tissue.
The human cloning procedure involves taking an unfertilized
egg from a female, removing the nucleus, which contains most
of the genetic information, and replacing it with the nucleus
of a cell from the person to be cloned.
The hard part is tricking this egg into acting as if it has
been fertilized by a sperm, thus starting it dividing as if
it were a new baby, instead of just creating more skin
cells or liver cells or cells of whatever organ the nucleus
was taken from.
If the technique is successful, the fertilized egg would grow
to 50 to 100 cells and the embryo would then be transferred
to a woman. A baby clone would be born nine months later.
Seed says the cloned babies he and his colleagues would
create would have no chromosomal damage and a normal life
He first talked about his plans December 5 at a
little-noticed Chicago symposium on reproductive technologies
sponsored by the Illinois Institute of Technology, Palca told
CNN. (242K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Seed will attempt to use the same techniques used to clone Dolly
After Dolly was cloned, President Clinton set up an advisory
group which recommended last year that Congress pass a law making human cloning illegal.
Harold Shapiro, who headed the panel -- the National Bioethics Advisory Committee -- believes Seed's project is
"scientifically and clinically premature," with many legal
and ethical issues yet to be resolved.
In the future, however, Shapiro acknowledged there might be
cases where human cloning could benefit infertile couples.
(233K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Clinton issued an executive order blocking the use of federal
funds on human cloning research and proposed a law banning
such research for five years, actions Seed disagrees with.
"I am an independent thinker," he told NPR.
Several measures to ban cloning are awaiting action in
Congress. In the meantime, the Food and Drug Administration
says it has the authority to regulate human cloning research.
The American Medical Association said Wednesday it does not
have an official policy on the subject but expects members
to discuss the issue at a meeting in June.