GENET archive


8-Humans: Ian Wilmut urges South Korea to continue cloning research

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Continue Cloning Research: Dolly Creator
SOURCE: Korea Times, by Kim Tae-gyu
DATE:   06 Feb 2006

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Continue Cloning Research: Dolly Creator

Prof. Ian Wilmut at the University of Edinburgh has recommended that
Korea continue its effort in therapeutic cloning despite the traumatic
scandal involving Hwang Woo-suk.

That recommendation is a sharp contrast to the growing voices here that
demand a complete suspension of nuclear transfer research with human
somatic cells in the aftermath of "Hwanggate."

"Although Hwang's team had not made the progress that they had claimed,
they had made some and I hope that Korea and other countries can benefit
from and build upon that progress," he said in an e-mail interview with
The Korea Times.

In a separate interview late last month, Wilmut, famous for creating the
first mammalian clone, Dolly the sheep, made a similar point although he
was against the idea of Hwang's comeback.

"There are people other (than Hwang) in the university and I hope that
Korea will continue to have an interest in this technology," he said.

Late last week, the National Bioethics Committee raised the probability
of wholly banning somatic cell nuclear transfer tests due to the scandal
caused by Hwang's fabrications of stem cell papers.

"Hwang failed to get a single stem cell line after using more than 2,000
eggs for the nuclear transfer experiments. At this conjuncture, we
should check from scratch whether or not the tests using human eggs are
proper," Prof. Lee Dong-ik at Catholic University, also the member of
the committee, said.

Negating such allegations, Wilmut claimed that cells derived from cloned
embryos have a great and unique role to play in medical research for new

"In their haste to offer cell therapy to patients, people have
overlooked the potential use of such (cloned) cells to develop new drugs
for inherited diseases such as ALS, Parkinson's disease, cancer and some
psychiatric diseases," he said.

ALS refers to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease that causes
muscle atrophy. It is better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

"Tests with cells genetically identical to a patient with one of those
diseases will provide new opportunities to develop drugs for those
diseases," he said.


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