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Asilomar2: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Several announcements on biotechnology research have made the front pages of the country's major newspapers over the past few months. Stories have ranged from gene therapy on a fetus, to the highly competitive race to crack the human gene code, to an attempt to transfer genes from the egg of an infertile woman into the egg of another woman in the hopes of achieving a viable pregnancy. As with the announcement two years ago of the cloning of an adult ewe in Scotland, these reports cause feelings

George Davatelis

Several announcements on biotechnology research have made the front pages of the country's major newspapers over the past few months. Stories have ranged from gene therapy on a fetus, to the highly competitive race to crack the human gene code, to an attempt to transfer genes from the egg of an infertile woman into the egg of another woman in the hopes of achieving a viable pregnancy. As with the announcement two years ago of the cloning of an adult ewe in Scotland, these reports cause feelings of excitement in some and fear in others--and for most of us, both.

The recent developments have once again sparked concern among segments of scientific and public communities over the ethics of biotechnology and genetic manipulation, particularly as it relates to human cloning. The news revived long-standing debates among scientists, theologians, ethicists, policymakers, and the lay public over the applications of breakthrough advances...

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