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July 2, 1997

Put Human Cloning on Hold, Say Bioethicists

JAMA. 1997;278(1):13-14. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550010025012

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HUMAN CLONING should be put on hold—but only temporarily, the National Bioethics Commission concluded in a report issued last month.

"Clearly, there is a need for further public deliberation on the serious moral concerns raised by the prospect of cloning human beings," the commission said.

President Bill Clinton asked the 18-member group in February to review the legal and ethical issues surrounding cloning and report back within 90 days. The president's request was a response to the report that researchers in Scotland had succeeded in cloning a sheep (Nature. 1997;385:810-813). The news sparked worldwide interest and concern that the cloning of humans was just around the corner.

In a letter transmitting the Bioethics Commission report to the White House, chair Harold T. Shapiro, PhD, president of Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, said there is a need for a "great deal more widespread education and deliberation" to resolve the legal and moral