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April 9, 1997

Scientists Flock to Hear Cloner Wilmut at the NIH

JAMA. 1997;277(14):1102-1103. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540380014004

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EVERY SO often the spotlight focuses on some major scientific advance that raises fears in the popular mind of implications for the future of humanity.

The announcement in February that scientists in Scotland had succeeded in cloning a sheep has raised concerns that they are only a short step from doing the same thing in humans.

"Scottish Institute Under Fire After Breakthrough in Sheep Reproduction" was a headline in one Scottish newspaper, which proceeded to quote an individual, described as an authority on genetics, charging the sheep cloners with "monstrous conduct." In the following weeks this theme occupied major newspapers and magazines around the world.

Phrases such as "good and evil" and "playing God" and considerations of the moral significance of the development filled editorial and opinion pages, not to mention television screens. In the United States, President Clinton banned the funding of research on human cloning and charged the