Monkey Clones Today—Human Clones Tomorrow

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Researchers have wondered for years if it would be possible to clone primates. The answer is now in—yes. Researchers in Oregon announced that they have succeeded in cloning rhesus monkeys by taking the nuclei of skin cells from a nine year-old monkey and installing them in monkey eggs whose nuclei have been removed. In addition, the researchers have extracted embryonic stem cells which have been transformed into heart and nerve cells.

The Washington Post reports:

The Oregon researchers did not transfer the embryos to female monkeys' wombs to grow into full-blown clones, as has been done with several other species. The scientists destroyed them to retrieve the embryonic stem cells growing inside…

Because the stem cells were grown from cloned embryos, those cells are genetically matched to the monkey that donated the initial skin cells. That means that any tissues or organs grown from them could be transplanted into that monkey without the need for immune-suppressing drugs.

Researchers believe that if it can be done with monkeys, that it can also be done with humans. Naturally, this advance will reawaken the debate over whether or not it is ethical to create cloned human embryos to produce stem cell therapies. Another often invoked worry is that women will be "exploited" for their eggs for therapeutic cloning research and treatments. As the Post notes:

Practical and ethical hurdles to growing personalized tissues for people are still great, because the still-inefficient technique requires large numbers of women's eggs, whose retrieval poses medical risks, and because the process would involve creating and destroying human embryos, which many social conservatives reject.
 
"Thousands of women's eggs will be required just for scientists to work on improving the technique for use in humans," said Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), who has repeatedly filed legislation to ban human embryo cloning. The research, he said, "would take us down the treacherous path where women are exploited for their eggs."
That's right. Paying fully informed women for their eggs is "exploitation." Next, ethicists will discover that paying people for work is exploitation. The Post article points out:
Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, praised the work and tried to allay fears that it would speed the creation of a cloned baby.
 
"This quest to develop stem cells is not an attempt to clone humans or non-human primates, and I want to affirm in the strongest possible terms my opposition to such cloning," he said.
I do wonder why Trounson presumably thinks it is all right to clone mice, rats, cats, dogs, and horses, but immoral to clone monkeys? And there is no strong moral case for outlawing safe reproductive human cloning either.

Whole Post article here.

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  1. From the Post article:

    Rev. Thomas Berg, executive director of the Westchester Institute, a Catholic ethics think tank in Thornwood, N.Y.: “The risk lies in applying the cloning technique to humans. Such a pursuit, if successful, would be one of humanity’s darkest endeavors.”

    Yeah, the Catholics know a thing or two about “dark endeavors.”
    Religious fuckstain.

  2. not surprised at the ‘exploitation’ comment. I once had a person tell me that smoking bans were justified because the high pay waitresses receive relative to other unskilled professions constitutes ‘coercion.’ Thus forcing people to work in a unhealthy environment.

  3. Bene Tleilax, here we come.

  4. So joe, are you claiming they are trying to create gholas in axlotl tanks? That’s just absurd.

  5. Next, ethicists will discover that paying people for work is exploitation.

    Oh, please. That’s is already a well-trod path. See, also, Marxism.

  6. “a Catholic ethics think tank”

    um. they have a few things to clear up in their camp ere they get on this stuff.

  7. Now… cloning a monkey with 4 asses. THAT would be something worth doing.

    M.

  8. Actually, hysteria about these practices in the US will just drive the research into countries where women might ACTUALLY BE exploited.

  9. Yes, yes, it is all coming together…soon I will have my army of flying monkeys, very soon….

  10. “Thousands of women’s eggs will be required just for scientists to work on improving the technique for use in humans,” said Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), who has repeatedly filed legislation to ban human embryo cloning. The research, he said, “would take us down the treacherous path where women are exploited for their eggs.”

    I walk past a beauty supply emporium almost every day. They make a profit [gasp!] by going “down the treacherous path where women are exploited for their eggs hair”. Yes, right here in America, you can lagally purchase human hair wigs, grown and sold by poor, exploited, third world women.

    Perhaps Rep. Welden, the self annointed defender of exploited women, should look into that. Are they really rational and competent enough to make that decision? Sperm donation for money is OK, because men aren’t childlike and hysterical like the weaker sex.

  11. Of course, giving up an egg is a little more complicated than spanking it in a cup to, say, this.

  12. Monkey Clones Today – Human Clones Tomorrow

    And hot little twenty-something Spanish Maid Clones the day after….

  13. Excellent. An entire army of ME! Excellent. Armed with this knowledge, I shall certainly bed the WEIBSKOBOLD sometime next week!

  14. Jaime, you’re fired.

  15. You are to quick to say there is “no moral argument” against cloning. Some of us have souls you know, and the least you can do is try to reason with us.

  16. The only real problem with clones, of course, is that they won’t see their own reflection in the mirror. We’re talking bad hair days, for, like, ever.

  17. Uh, Jamie, that’s vampires. Clones/alternate universe yous have beards and are evil.

  18. You are to quick to say there is “no moral argument” against cloning. Some of us have souls you know, and the least you can do is try to reason with us.

    Here’s a simple solution: If you believe you have a soul, don’t donate any eggs.

    See?

  19. You are to quick to say there is “no moral argument” against cloning. Some of us have souls you know, and the least you can do is try to reason with us.

    no.

  20. Just to be precise here, the least one can do is nothing. And nothing is, surprisingly often, the best policy.

  21. The women as victims mantra is alive and well.

    Exploited, HA! The far more likely outcome is that there will be a bevy of laws passed by the feminists and the chivarlists that will extend even more special rights to women resulting in men not having the same access to this technology that women have.

  22. My pet theory is that humanity WAS cloned. In the beginning, there was the race of Adam and the race of Eve. Cloned to work by a superior alien species who had discovered this nice little blue haven. Then Adam got chummy with Eve and all bets were off.

    That’s why I don’t care about it. Cloning a clone from a clone or a descendant of a clone is fine.

    Hey! Is that Ron Bailey running from the room screaming for a drink?

  23. I want hands for feet. …and a tail!

  24. Hey! Is that Ron Bailey running from the room screaming for a drink?

    Nah, that was me after I read that.

    The exploited part everyone has already talked about, I agree that it’s BS. Also, if the demand for their eggs starts going up they might start getting really good cash, that’d make the libertarian in me feel all warm inside.

    Trounson really befuddles me. He’s the president for the Institute of Regenerative Medicine and he says that he’s strongly anti-human cloning ? They need a president with bigger balls to stand up to the ignorant.

  25. They need a president with bigger balls to stand up to the ignorant.

    That’s right after the Spanish Maid clones.

  26. d’oh type-o in name.

    “no”.

    there.

  27. Also suggest that the “oh noes! Needz to protect wimminz from having teh eggz exploited!!” group might actually, y’know, SIT DOWN with a bunch of feminists and get their opinions.

    My take on the matter is that although feminists might have some slight qualms about “exploitation” for commercial use, they’re going to be a hell of a lot more pissed off at the “protectors” deciding women can’t make their own perfectly moral judgements as to whether to sell/donate/whatever with parts of their own body. One of the reason the feminist movement was so ticked off by the latest supreme court decision, by the way….

  28. I’ll bet Ron Paul is opposed to cloning monkeys or at least to gays adopting cloned monkeys.

  29. Leave me alone you bastards!

  30. Why does everyone automatically think that “exploitation” is a bad thing?

  31. “Leave me alone you bastards!”

    Bastards? Us? You are a fine one to talk.

  32. Good point, grumpy realist.

    Given the scores of mutually-hostile camps that exists within feminism and disagree about pretty much everything beyond women’s suffrage, it’s ridiculous to speculate on what feminists-as-a-whole will do.

    There will undoubtedly be feminists on both sides of this, and each side will be able to make a case that is perfectly consisent with feminist principles to back up their stances.

    And whichever side is opposed to Reason magazine will be described by male libertarians as the real feminists, and by female libertarians as the fake feminists.

  33. Is feminism still a movement?

  34. Good question. That’s sort of like asking if democracy or anti-communism are still movements.

  35. Is feminism still a movement?

    I ‘ve always regarded it as more of a cult, with the internal schisms and itnernecine bitterness and purges typical of cults.

  36. We dont need any human cloning becuase we dont need another BILL CLINTON or AL GORE. BAN HUMAN CLONING

  37. Wally,

    You make a good point. We need fewer humans on the planet, not more.

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