Stemagen, a private company in La Jolla, Calif., has published a paper in which its scientists claim they have successfully created cloned human embryos. If you think you have heard this announcement before, you are right.
Just about two years ago, a team of scientists at Seoul National University in Korea announced in the journal Science that they had cloned human embryos and had gotten stem cells to grow from them. The Korean work could not be replicated. Eventually Hwang woo-suk, the lead scientist involved, admitted he had lied. There were no cloned embryos. He resigned his university position in complete disgrace.
So, two questions arise about today’s human cloning news. Did Stemagen scientists really do what they are saying they did? If they did, what does it mean for the future of human cloning and stem cell research?