A U.S. researcher said a new cloning technique could be used by unethical scientists to develop a way to create designer babies.
Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of Advanced Cell Technology, told Britain's Independent newspaper that technology used to develop stem cells to treat diseases such as Parkinson's and stroke could be applied to human cloning.
"It's unethical and unsafe, but someone may be doing it today," he told the newspaper.
Lanza said scientists have successfully created baby mice from the genetically altered skin cells of adult animals.
"Cloning isn't here now, but with this new technique we have the technology that might be able to actually produce a child. If this was applied to humans it would be enormously troublesome," Lanza told Britain's Telegraph newspaper. "It raises the same issues as reproductive cloning and although the technology for reproductive cloning in humans doesn't exist, with this breakthrough we now have a working technology whereby anyone, young or old, fertile or infertile, straight or gay can pass on their genes to a child by using just a few skin cells."
Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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