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Medical News & Perspectives
September 26, 2001

At the Cloning Circus Sideshows Abound, While Scientists Seek a Wider Audience

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JAMA. 2001;286(12):1437-1438. doi:10.1001/jama.286.12.1437

Washington—The scene inside the National Academy of Sciences auditorium on August 7 resembled a daytime talk show. Banks of television klieg lights baked the stage, where astonishing revelations and wild gesticulations garnered hoots and jeers from the audience.

Early in the day-long event, one of three would-be human cloners broke off an argument and exclaimed, "People think we are mad scientists. We are not!" Some of the two dozen recognized experts in reproduction, genetics, and ethics sharing the stage sighed at the antics of Panay Zavos, PhD, director of the little-known Andrology Institute, a commercial research facility in Kentucky. His sparring partner, from the well-known Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rudolf Jaenisch, PhD, remained calm and posed the first of the day's many rhetorical questions. "Is a cloned animal that looks normal really normal? Animal embryonic development can continue despite genetics problems which may appear later."

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