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How Cloning Could Change Medicine

Jennifer Fisher Wilson
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Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(6):535-538. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-6-200309160-00036
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When most people hear the word “cloning,” it conjures images of Dolly the sheep. Dolly, born in 1996, was the world's first clone of a mammal. This event ignited ethical debates because it raised the possibility that a similar process would someday be used for humans. Dolly died earlier this year, and by then the controversy over human cloning was largely decided—most people, including most scientists and politicians, have agreed that it is neither feasible nor desirable, let alone ethical. But a related debate about therapeutic cloning—the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer to produce embryonic stem cells (see Glossary for definitions of italicized terms)—has only grown more intense over the years.

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