U.S. Scientist to try human cloning

Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON - A Chicago scientist says he is determined to begin work on cloning a human being despite widespread opposition to using newly developed techniques on humans. "It is our objective, it is my objective to set up a human clone clinic in greater Chicago here, make it a profitable fertility clinic," G. Richard Seed said in an interview carried Tuesday by National Public Radio. Seed said he planned to use the same techniques utilized by Scottish scientists in 1996 to clone the adult sheep Dolly, the first cloned mammal. Micro-manipulators would be used to remove the DNA from a woman's egg and replace them with DNA from the person to be cloned. Once fertilized, the egg would grow to 50 to 100 cells, and the embryo would then be transferred to a woman. If the technique works, a baby clone would be born nine months later. Seed, who first talked about his plans Dec. 5. at a little-noticed symposium on reproductive technologies in Chicago, told The Boston Globe he would go to Mexico if barred from pursuing his plans in the United States. A national panel recommended last year in the wake of Dolly's cloning that Congress pass a law making human cloning illegal, saying the technique posed unacceptable risks of mutations and raised troubling ethical questions. Several measures to ban cloning are awaiting action in Congress. Seed told The Washington Post he has already assembled a group of doctors willing to work with him and has four couples who have volunteered to be cloned. He declined to name any of them. "I've said many times that you can't stop science," Seed told NPR. "...God made man in his own image. God intended for man to become one with God. ... Cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step in becoming one with God." Yury Verlinsky, director of the reproductive genetics institute at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, said he had heard of Seed's plan and considered it feasible. However, Verlinsky told the Post, "I don't think he will do it." Seed's brother, Randolph, a Chicago surgeon, told the Post his brother has the background and organization skills to pull off a human cloning. The two brothers were involved in a landmark research project decades ago that resulted in the first successful transfer of a human embryo from one woman to another. "When we first started those experiments everyone said, 'He's in left field,"' Randolph Seed told the Post. "Well, here we are 25 years later and its deja vu all over again. He's perfectly capable if he gets some financing." Richard Seed told USA Today he has raised "a few hundred thousand" dollars, but needs $2 million to begin his cloning project.

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