Response to Cloning Claim
The Center for Genetics and Society joins the
widespread condemnation of the Raelian announcement that a cloned
child has been born, and shares the widespread doubt that it
will prove to be true.
Based on what we know about cloning technology and about the
Raelians, the claim is very unlikely to be true. Researchers
in China and the US have experienced extraordinarily high failure
rates in efforts to create viable cloned human embryos, and
the high failure rate of animal pregnancies involving cloned
embryos is well documented. The likelihood that the Raelians
have overcome both of these hurdles is slim.
Nonetheless, we can hardly be complacent. Cloning claims and
publicity stunts by rogue researchers and others will surely
continue. At the same time, the development of technologies
that would in fact make human cloning possible continues.
Efforts by the Raelians or others to produce a child using
cloning techniques constitute a violation of internationally
recognized standards on human experimentation. Risks to the
child and to women impregnated with cloned human embryos contravene
medical ethics and human rights. Even if reproductive cloning
could somehow be shown to be "safe," its use would
be contrary to the well-being not only of the children and women
involved, but to society as a whole.
A wide range of scientific, medical, human rights, reproductive
rights, environmentalist, civil rights, disability rights, and
other civil society organizations, in the United States and
internationally, are on record in support of bans on human reproductive
cloning. The United Nations has embarked on a process towards
an international treaty that would outlaw the production of
human clones. Several dozen countries have already established
legislation prohibiting reproductive cloning efforts, and calls
for similar bans are now being heard in many others.
The prospect that cloning and other genetic modification techniques
might be used to re-engineer the human species—a prospect
that some scientists and others have openly endorsed—is
one of the most pressing issues of our time.
We call on all countries to move quickly to ban reproductive
human cloning, and to develop effective policies for regulating
other powerful new human genetic technologies.
We call on people everywhere to work individually and through
organizations to which they belong to establish the political
and cultural committments needed to protect our common human