Remember Dolly the cloned sheep? She was a breakthrough and all, but the method used to create her, apparently, was inefficient. Scientists have now developed an easier method to clone animals (mice so far), and it only requires is some skin cells and an early embryo. Get ready for an ethics debate!
When carried out, the technique makes it possible to create partial and complete clones out of adult skin cells. Scientists merely place the skin cells in an early embryo—in-vitro fertilization doctors would be able to do this, no problem, it seems—and wait for the skin cells to develop. That’s obviously a simplification of the process, but more or less the idea.
The big dilemma out of all of this is that, since the method is relatively easy to accomplish, it’s likely that unscrupulous scientists may use it to clone humans left and right. Even worse (I suppose) is that this particular method could be the first step toward designer babies, that is, babies with features you request. “We’d like a baby with blue eyes, please.” One scientist put it:
So for instance if we had a few skin cells from Albert Einstein, or anyone else in the world, you could have a child that is say 10 per cent or 70 per cent Albert Einstein by just injecting a few of their cells into an embryo.
Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Epsilon?
via Drudge Report