"Cloning, it is often said, gives humans a godlike kind of power to push back the limits of nature and decide the shape of life on Earth. In this context, it also offers an opportunity for godlike insight -- how a little more attention to nature, and respect for its limits, could make such manipulation unnecessary." - from item 2
Science threat and science fiction:
1. Pope attacks Blair and 'culture of death' in west [shortened]
2. Cloning's not the way to save species
3. Head of Geron Corporation on what the future holds [shortened]
4. Clarke's DNA goes on a space odyssey in cloning mission
5. Raelian cloning latest
Pope attacks 'culture of death' in west
The Guardian (London) January 1, 2001
Advanced science and technology made an "enticing and alluring" model which the rest of the world was following with a "slavish conformity". In a world peace day message which aides feared he would not live to make, he will accuse the west of making a fatal attempt to secure humanity's welfare by eliminating God. "A culture that no longer has a point of reference in God loses its soul and loses its way, becoming a culture of death," he will say.
...In a veiled swipe at Tony Blair and other leaders who have backed plans to clone human embryo cells for medical research, he will condemn "irresponsible" practices of genetic engineering. "A civilisation based on love and peace must oppose these experiments, which are unworthy of man."
Extinction: Cloning's not the way to save species
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) December 31, 2000, Sunday, Metro Edition
Any day now, a marvelous birth is to occur on a farm in Iowa. The mother will be an ordinary cow. The offspring will be a gaur, a massive wild ox of south Asia whose numbers are in sharp decline. And the father? A Massachusetts company that specializes in animal cloning, and hopes to perfect the technique as a means of reversing extinctions. The gaur will be the first clone of an endangered species. Soon the company hopes to bring back the bucardo, a goatlike animal of the Pyrenees that went extinct a year ago. Off in the not-distant future is a dream of cloning China's giant panda, widely expected to vanish in as little as 10 years. If these efforts succeed, the team at Advanced Cell Technology will deserve considerable applause _ and not just for keeping the world supplied with pandas. Among all of humankind's environmental impacts, species extinction is particularly final, and especially shameful. But there are technical limits, not yet clearly understood, to cloning's capacity for replicating natural processes. And there are, or ought to be, ethical limits on how such technology is used. The bucardo clones, for example, will probably be born of goats or ibexes or goat-ibex hybrids.
Goats will likely supply the ova into which bucardo DNA will be inserted. All of the cloned offspring will be female, but the scientists say they can make a pretty good facsimile of a male bucardo by splicing in chromosomes from rams of a similar species. These animals may come out looking genuine enough to human eyes, but what would a bucardo think? How much of its uniqueness can be lost before a species can fairly be considered extinct, if not yet dead? Even if cloning could mimic nature with technical perfection, its use asan antidote to extinction would still raise important ethical and practical issues. And it would leave the fundamental causes of extinction untouched. The last bucardo, it is said, was killed by a falling tree. But the rest of its species did not disappear by accident. Human settlement and agriculture pushed them into increasingly inhospitable portions of the Pyrenees, and hunters took a toll. So it is with gaurs, pandas, Asiatic cheetahs, Tasmanian tigers and other vanished or vanishing critters that are candidates for preservation cloning. They wouldn't be on the list if pollution, habitat destruction, excessive hunting _ and, in the case of the Tasmanian tiger, a deliberate extermination campaign by Australian sheep ranchers _ hadn't put them there. Everybody understands this by now, and yet habitat destruction continues at an increasing pace. Many scientists agree that extinction rates are approaching those of the great ice ages, with human activity the principal cause this time around. Cloning, it is often said, gives humans a godlike kind of power to pushback the limits of nature and decide the shape of life on Earth. In this context, it also offers an opportunity for godlike insight _ how a little more attention to nature, and respect for its limits, could make such manipulation unnecessary. LOAD-DATE: January 2, 2001 [Entered January 3, 2001]
The Observer December 31, 2000
Soon, if experts are to Be believed, you'll be able take the kids to school in a flying saucer, live on the moon and treat tumours with sound waves. Here six leaders in their fields, look o a brighter future. [although it is nowhere mentioned here amidst this sales pitch for futuristic medical benefits, Geron Corporation holds patents on human embryo manipulation techniques applicable to human germline engineering and also on applicable cloning techniques for human cloning.]
Dr Tom Okarma, president and CEO of Geron Corporation, California Specialism:bio-medicine Predicts: artificial organs; human nerve cells for sale in chemists' 'In 10 to 20 years' time, we think we will be able to build new organs artificially and replace an entire organ with something synthetic. So whenever someone's health is compromised by a specific organ dysfunction, which is 75 to 80 per cent of people, we'll have the technology to support them. Heart failure, strokes, cirrhosis, loss of kidney function and diabetes could all be treated. But this therapeutic organ cloning will not increase our life span because, no matter what you replace, we will all eventually collapse. People who live to 110 will still die in their sleep because so many of their life support systems fail. In three to five years, human clinical trials of cell therapy - using living cells as pills - will begin. We are already making these in the lab and testing on animals. We believe it will eventually be possible to walk into a pharmacy and buy human nerve cells which can then be injected into areas of degeneration in the nervous system. The human embryonic stem cell can already be cloned. We can engineer it using gene-targetting technologies to make that cell grow into all the cells and tissues of the body, so as to go undetected by the immune system and therefore not be rejected - a major stumbling block of organ-transplant operations. We've already made heart muscle cells. These would be universal, and could therefore be taken off the shelf and injected into the portion of a damaged heart to restore its pumping ability. These cells could be made for virtually any organ of the body.'
Clarke's DNA goes on a space odyssey in cloning mission
The Herald (Glasgow) January 2, 2001
A SCIENCE fiction novelist is to launch samples of his DNA into space so aliens can make clones of him. Sir Arthur C Clarke, creator of the cult story, 2001 - A Space Odyssey, hopes another life form will find the genetic blueprint and make a version of him.Encounter 2001, a US company, is sending six strands of his hair into orbit alongwith a tape-recording of his voice which says: "This is not Arthur Clarke, this is a clone."
We will clone dead baby girl, claims aliens cult
By Philip Delves Broughton in New York
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (LONDON) January 03, 2001
A FREE-LOVE Canadian cult, whose members believe they were cloned by aliens, claimsto have receivd pounds 350,000 from an American couple to clone their 10-month-olddaughter, who died last year. The couple, says the cult, has given skin cells from their daughter toscientists who say they can produce her clone by the end of this year.The French doctor leading the experiment on behalf of the Raelian Movement haspersuaded her own daughter to carry the cloned embryo in her uterus.
The claims point to a future of uncontrolled cloning laboratories operating inAmerica. Human cloning is not yet banned in the United States.The Raelian Movement was founded by a French singer and former sportswriter,Claude "Rael" Vorilhon, the author of a 1974 book titled The Message Given to Meby Extraterrestrials. He believes he was kidnapped by aliens, cloned and his clonereturned to Earth. He claims that his group has 50,000 members, mainly in Quebec.In 1997 the Raelians announced that they were setting up Clonaid, abiotechnology firm that will fund cloning projects not authorised by governmentson scientific and ethical grounds. They believe that over time, cloning will becomeas common as in-vitro fertilisation.Earlier claims by the group that they had more than 100 mainly homosexual couples ready to pay for cloned babies and more than pounds 1 million in backinghave never been verified.
Now, the group refuses to name the couple who have given their dead daughter's cells, saying only that they are in their thirties and stillable to have more children naturally. Critics of the group say it is using the issue of cloning simply to raise its own profile.Clonaid's rate card offers human cloning for pounds 130,000 and a service called Insuraclone for pounds 33,000 which will sample and store human cells to create aclone if that person dies. In cases where there are genetic diseases, the cult promises it will not clone someone until their genes can be repaired. An additional service, Clonapet, which will clone favourite pet animals, is said to be in the pipeline. The technique Clonaid plans to use for the child is that used for Dolly thesheep, the first animal clone. It is called somatic cell nuclear transfer andinvolves using an electrical charge to fuse the cells of the dead child to an eggcell stripped of its genetic properties. This then grows into an embryo which is implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother.
Clonaid claims to have more than 50 women available as surrogates for cloned embryos. Among them is Marina Cocolios, 22, the daughter of Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid's scientific director. Dr Boisselier, who is French, is a bishop in the Raelian Movement, with a background in chemical gas research rather than biotechnology. "I am very sure about what I'm doing," Miss Cocolios, a fine arts student, told the New York Post. "These people want the DNA of that first baby to have the chance to fully express itself and I want to help give that chance." The Raelians have a quasi-Christian aspect to their creed. They believe that life on Earth was created by aliens called Elohim, a Hebrew word mistranslated in the Bible as "God". They believe Jesus's resurrection was a cloning performed bythe Elohim.