The following is an edited excerpt.
Last week’s announcement in Cell that a team in Oregon successfully derived stem cells from a cloned human embryo raises many questions. Researchers must do their best to answer them and If they do not, they risk creating an environment of fear that distracts from the real debate and sets back research.
The reaction to the Oregon team’s success has been predictably mixed. Some have lauded the achievement, others have been less enthusiastic. “Barbaric,” wrote one critic. Another called it a “terrible injustice”.
The ethical questions introduced by the new work are serious matters and deserve consideration, but these issues should be considered in the context of the current research and re-evaluated as the work advances.