Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Erika Jonietz

Korean Cloners Face Ethics Probe

Korean biologists recently made headlines with the first successful step toward therapeutic cloning–the creation of master cells genetically identical to a donor from cloned human embryos. Now the researchers, Woo Suk Hwang and Shin Yong Moon of Seoul National University,…

  • May 6, 2004

Korean biologists recently made headlines with the first successful step toward therapeutic cloning–the creation of master cells genetically identical to a donor from cloned human embryos. Now the researchers, Woo Suk Hwang and Shin Yong Moon of Seoul National University, face serious questions over the methods used to recruit the egg donors that were critical for the study. In February, the team announced that they had not only successfully cloned human embryos, but also produced stem cells–that is, cells capable of becoming any tissue in the body–from those embryos. The work was hailed worldwide, both for its potential to one day provide patients with replacement cells, tissues, or even organs 100% compatible with their own and as the first rigorously reviewed evidence that such cells could be created.

Today, the journal Nature published a story that raises serious questions over the researchers’ recruiting of 16 volunteer egg donors, an astonishingly high number. Among the allegations: one of the study’s junior authors may have been a donor. Korean citizens’ groups and leading bioethicists are pressuring South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission to investigate.

While the researchers may well be exonerated, the fact that such questions have even been raised only fuels the arguments of those who claim that stem cell and therapeutic cloning research are ethical quagmires and that principled, reputable research in these areas is impossible. If the questions aren’t resolved quickly, the consequences for therapeutic cloning research–and in the U.S., even for unrelated embryonic stem cell research–could be disastrous.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.