Scientists in South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom announced the establishment of an international consortium for the creation and study of cloned human embryonic stem cells. The consortium constitutes something of an end-run around efforts by the U.S. House of Representatives to criminalize cloning research and attempts by the Bush Administration to get the United Nations to outlaw such research.
The project will be led by South Korean researcher Woo Suk Hwang, the first scientist to successfully produce cloned human embryos. The consortium hopes to produce 100 cloned embryonic stem cell lines each year using cells taken from patients suffering from various diseases. Researchers hope these stem cell lines will help them understand how diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and diabetes develop at the cellular level.