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Sunday, December 18, 2005

SCNT Defined

I held back the person's name and email address, whom I will refer to as Ray from here on, from the previous article because I didn't want him/her to find out what it's like to constantly get letters from people like him/her. Yes, there are extreme people on both sides of the aisle.

Ray responded to my post with this:

Well, well, well, you didn't have the guts to print my name. Was this for my protection so some "pro-life" person would not attack me?

With SCNT, nuclear transfer or therapeutic cloning there is no sperm, only an unfertilzed [sic] egg and one's own DNA. Is this some kind of immaculate conception???? How dare you stand in the way of medical research?

The stem cell issue has nothing to do with the abortion issue,, but you make this connection. This is why you are evil. You have no idea what my views on abortion are, but I sure do have Parkinson's disease and really more than resent your attempt to give SSNs and 14th Amendment rights to cells.
Ray, I'm not sure if you are unaware or just not concerned for what really happens with modern scientific experimentation with human beings. Here is some information on "somatic cell nuclear transfer" (SCNT)

The Problem with Human Cloning
On November 25, Advanced Cell Technology, a privately funded biotechnology company in Worcester, MA, announced it had produced the first cloned human embryos. None of the embryos lived beyond the six-cell stage, but this development indicates that the cloning of human beings is on our societal doorstep.

Cloning is a way of producing a genetic twin of an organism, without sexual reproduction. The method used to produce Dolly the sheep and one of the methods used to produce the human embryos is called "somatic cell nuclear transfer" (SCNT). With SCNT, the nucleus of a body cell (somatic cell) is transferred into an unfertilized egg whose nucleus has been removed or rendered inactive. A tiny electric pulse is usually used then to stimulate development of the resulting embryo. Scientists hope to get these cloned human embryos to grow to the blastocyst stage (about 100 cells) in order to harvest their stem cells for research, thus causing the death of the embryo.

"As one group of scientific and other experts advising the Holy See has written, ‘In the cloning process, the basic relationships of the human person are perverted: filiation, consanguinity [blood relation], kinship, parenthood. A woman can be the twin sister of her mother, lack a biological father and be the daughter of her grandmother. In vitro fertilization has already led to the confusion of parentage, but cloning will mean the radical rupture of these bonds.’"
And this article:

The procedure used for cloning is somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). That is the procedure that produced Dolly the sheep. So obviously, a cloned embryo produced by SCNT is capable of developing into an adult. In therapeutic cloning, it would not be allowed to develop.

Here’s how SCNT works. A somatic cell is a cell taken from tissue in the body such as a skin cell or a heart cell or a brain cell. This is opposed to a germ cell, which would be an egg cell or sperm cell. An unfertilized egg cell, which normally would not be capable of developing into an adult of the species, has its nucleus removed. Then the nucleus of the somatic cell is injected into the egg cell and a small pulse of electricity is used to fuse the nucleus with the cytoplasm in the egg cell and trigger cell division, just like a fertilized egg. We know that this has worked to produce a living, breathing cloned sheep. If we are dealing with human cells, it is possible that it could develop into a living, breathing human being. But, in therapeutic cloning, it would not be allowed to do so. After it develops to the blastocyst stage, it will be killed and the stem cells will be harvested.
Last but not least, from

This technique is currently the basis for cloning animals, such as the famous Dolly the sheep, and could theoretically be used to clone humans. It is commonly used to produce embryonic stem cells. In order to do this, the egg, now containing the nucleus of a somatic cell, is stimulated in such a way that it begins to divide. The resulting cells are, ideally, genetically identical to the original; embryonic stem cells are harvested when dividing cells have formed a blastocyst.
Ray, you keep saying "cells". Where do you think those "cells" come from? They come from living human beings whom you are willing to kill to lesson your suffering.

We are not Nazis. We should not be mad scientists who kill other humans for our own benefit.

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