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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Biologists Adopt Cloning Moratorium
19 September 1997 7:00 pm
Hoping to ease public fears about human cloning and ward off overreaching legislation, the country's largest coalition of biologists announced yesterday that it had adopted a voluntary moratorium on creating a baby from the somatic cells of an adult. The moratorium, the first among U.S. scientific societies, does not preclude research on techniques that would be required for human cloning, however.
President Clinton barred federally funded researchers from cloning a person last March after Scottish researchers reported they had cloned the lamb "Dolly" from an adult sheep's DNA. Then in June, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) issued a report (ScienceNOW, 9 June) that called on professional societies to "comply voluntarily" with the federal ban.
In response to the NBAC's plea, the Federation of American Scientific Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), a group of 14 scientific societies representing more than 52,000 biologists, adopted their 5-year voluntary moratorium at a board meeting earlier this month. The societies defined human cloning as "the duplication of an existing or previously existing human being by transferring the nucleus of a differentiated, somatic cell into an enucleated human oocyte, and implanting the resulting product for intrauterine gestation and subsequent birth."
This definition is more specific than many others being considered in Congress, and unlike some of those proposals, it would not restrict cloning research on embryos or human DNA and cells. The society hopes to "ensure that imprecise or misused technical language is not included" in a new law, says FASEB president Ralph Yount, a biochemist at Washington State University in Pullman. "We're concerned that legislation not be too restrictive and hinder breakthroughs in other areas of human disease," he adds.