Some Truth Telling in NATURE
Nature has an interesting article about the Hwang debacle. A couple of quotes stuck out for me.
"In the past few days, doubts have also been raised about the authenticity of [Hwang's] 2004 paper... But whether it is valid or not, the loss of confidence in the 2005 study leaves scientists with no proof that adult cells can be cloned - let alone used to produce stem cells. "Hwang's work gave people confidence to move into this difficult area," says Alan Colman, head of Singapore-based regenerative medicine company ES Cell International and a member of the team that cloned Dolly. "But maybe it's harder than we thought."
"We're back to knowing that animal cloning is possible but wondering whether it is possible in humans," adds Kevin Eggan of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "This is an enormous setback." (My italics.)
This is important because it acknowledges that the act of human cloning is the creation of the cloned embryo, not the cloned baby. It flies in the face of the disingenuous propaganda campaign being mounted by Big Biotech and their allies that cloning an embryo is not human cloning.
Here's another interesting quote:
"But for others, the episode merely confirms that therapeutic cloning is not the way forward. 'I always had my doubts about therapeutic cloning to generate patient-matched cells,' says Stephen Minger, a stem-cell researcher at the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases in London, UK. He believes that banking stemcell lines from normal embryos, so that they can be matched to patients once they are made, is a more realistic prospect."
So, it isn't just religious folk who believe that therapeutic cloning doesn't make sense scientifically. Of course, he supports ESCR, but I believe that within five years, the advances in adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells may be such that ESCR will not be seen as necessary for clinical application.