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Royal Society comment on granting of therapeutic cloning licence to Professor Ian Wilmut

June 23, 2017

Commenting on the announcement today that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has granted Professor Ian Wilmut, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a licence to clone early human embryos to help in finding a cure for motor neurone disease, Professor Richard Gardner, chair of the Royal Society working group on stem cell research and cloning, said:

"The granting of a second licence in the UK to carry out valuable research into therapeutic cloning highlights the potential benefits that are being pursued through this new technology. However, we do need to ensure that mavericks do not attempt to use this to undertake reckless experiments in the reproductive cloning of humans. Next week, the United Nations is meeting to discuss the form of a political declaration on human cloning. As national science academies all over the world have stressed, we want to see the message made clear. Individual countries should be allowed to make up their own minds about therapeutic cloning but extending these techniques to attempt to produce a cloned baby is scientifically unsafe, ethically unsound and socially unacceptable."


The InterAcademy Panel on International Affairs (IAP) published a statement calling for a ban on human reproductive cloning but requesting that cloning for both research and therapeutic purposes be excluded from any ban. It was been signed by over 60 science academies from across the world including the Royal Society.

Related links

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP)

This is a press release by the Royal Society, UK