Chicago, Illinois – November 20: A pair of scientific papers released today report that scientists in the United States and Japan have succeeded in producing powerful stem cells by “direct reprogramming” of skin cells.
The stem cells produced by direct reprogramming are believed to have the same power that embryonic stem cells possess, that is, the ability to become virtually any cell type.
In addition, direct reprogramming does not use human eggs, so it does not endanger the health of women by asking them to endure the risky procedure associated with egg retrieval.
AUL president Clarke Forsythe, who also directs the AUL Project on Law and Bioethics remarked, “This tremendous breakthrough is both ethically and scientifically sound.”
This news comes on the heels of an announcement by Ian Wilmut, the scientist who produced Dolly the cloned sheep, that he is abandoning cloning in favor of work with the reprogramming technique.
“While we are excited about this ethical breakthrough, and thankful that scientists are already embracing it,” said Mailee Smith, AUL staff counsel, “the need for states to pass legislation that bans all forms of human cloning remains.”
Indeed, the Associated Press reports that Harvard’s Dr. George Daley, who is also president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), plans to continue cloning research in addition to direct reprogramming.
About Americans United for Life
Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which every human being is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971. The Wall Street Journal has profiled AUL, and PBS’s Frontline program chronicled our successful efforts in Mississippi.