Science Contradicts Senator Feinstein

Date: 06/17/2002

Speaking 6/14/02 on the floor of the Senate, Senator Diane Feinstein said in defense of her legislation to allow human research cloning: “The beauty of our legislation is that it would also allow this most promising form of stem cell research, somatic cell nuclear transplantation, to be conducted on a human egg for up to 14 days only, under strict standards and Federal regulation…This stem cell research can only take place on an unfertilized egg. This is important because many of the opponents of stem cell research say: Aha, this is an organism capable of being a living being. It is no different than a clump of blood cells. They are alive. Those blood cells are not capable of becoming a human being”

But the science contradicts and disproves Senator Feinstein’s remarks:

“The Commission began its discussions fully recognizing that any effort in humans to transfer a somatic cell nucleus into an enucleated egg involves the creation of an embryo, with the apparent potential to be implanted in utero and developed to term.”Cloning Human Beings: Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (Rockville, MD: June 1997), p. 3

In addition, the fact that the cloned embryo is created without fertilization is irrelevant — that is the point behind cloning. Because the precise purpose of cloning is to create a living embryo that is the genetic duplicate of the somatic cell donor, fertilization must be avoided and replaced by its functional equivalent – somatic cell nuclear transfer. But the result is indeed a living human embryo capable of developing to term if implanted.