Australia issues first license to clone human embryos

This one is a month or so old, but it is very important!

The Australian government has issued its first license allowing scientists to create cloned human embryos to try and obtain embryonic stem cells. I think this is a very thin line we are walking on. 

The in vitro-fertilization firm Sydney IVF was granted the license. It is said that they have access to 7,200 human eggs for research.

If the project is a success it would be a world first, the Australian government's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which granted the license, said on Wednesday.

Scientists in other countries have made stem cells they believe are similar to embryonic cells using a variety of techniques, but none have been able to extract embryonic stem cells from cloned human embryos.

An Australian ban on the research, known as therapeutic cloning or somatic cell nuclear transfer, was lifted in December 2006 after a rare conscience vote in the national parliament.

But the use of excess IVF embryos and the creation and use of other embryos in research is restricted by law through national legislation. 

Dr John Findlay is the Chair of the NHMRC's licensing committee. He said Sydney IVF's research would be closely monitored. Like this would be enough! Human cloning for reproductive purposes is banned, but it can never be controlled. The scientists will always want to know that truth! Can we do it? What will happen if.... And that is the beginning....

Findlay told Reuters "They have been given a license to do therapeutic cloning" , adding the scientists are not licensed to reach the fetal stage. But when the temptation is huge, they will cross it! I don't want to panic anyone, but we have seen this in other areas.

He also said "They can go to the stage called blastocyst. They must stop at that point". The blastocyst is a very early-stage embryo not yet implanted into the womb.

You can read more here, but I do think this is a very-very thin line we are walking on.