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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 10 April 2002

10 April 2002

10 April 2002 A claim that a cloned human embryo has been successfully implanted in the womb has been disputed by the British group which produced the first cloned mammal. Dr Severino Antinori of Rome was reported in the Gulf News of Abu Dhabi as saying that a woman was eight weeks pregnant with a cloned child, but Professor Ian Wulmut of the Roslin Institute, Scotland, has urged scepticism. The institute's Dr Harry Griffin cast doubt on the Italian doctor's claim because it had allegedly not been published in a refereed journal. Dr Antinori was quoted as claiming that some 5,000 couples were involved in his cloning project. US President Bush is due to make a statement on cloning later today. [Telegraph, 6 April , Reuters on iwon, 8 April , and LSN/CWN, 9 April ] American researchers claim that they have treated a man's Parkinson's disease by re-inserting cultured stem cells taken from his brain. The Cedars-Sinai medical center, Los Angeles, described the procedure as experimental but claimed that the cells had helped restore production of dopamine so that the patient's symptoms had been alleviated. Questions have been raised about the research but it does provide an ethical alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells. [BBC, 9 April ] An Australian Catholic archbishop has offered to match national and state funding for research on adult stem cells. Archbishop Pell of Sydney will contribute the equivalent of more than US$26,000 if the federal and New South Wales governments put forward "significant money". The archbishop pointed out how the use of adult cells had produced significant medical advances while the use of embryo cells had not. [AAP on ninemsn, 9 April ] The European Union's commissioner for social affairs has told a United Nations conference on ageing that Europe needs a higher birth rate if it is to avoid economic and social problems. Ms Anna Diamantopoulou described the increase in Europe's number of elderly people as alarming and advocated family-friendly policies. [CNSNews, 9 April ] Life, the British charity, has criticised a deaf woman in America for choosing to be inseminated with a deaf man's sperm so that the baby would also have a hearing-impairment. Mr Peter Garrett described the process as unethical and an example of reproductive technology running riot. Ms Candy McCullough, the lesbian partner of Ms Sharon Duchesneau, the mother of Gauvin McCullough, aged four months, likened the choice to one made by a black woman who wanted a black baby. [BBC, 8 April ]

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