In response to the uproar, President Clinton has banned
the use of federal funds for human cloning research, saying that "any
discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply a matter of scientific
inquiry." The ban was mainly a gesture, since no federal funds are
currently being put towards experiments involving human cloning. But Clinton
has also asked a federal bioethics panel to study the issue and report back
in 90 days on whether the United States should regulate or ban human cloning
altogether. Britain, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain
already have laws banning human genetic experiments.
But geneticists are hoping that the baby doesn't get thrown
out with the bath water. They argue that, while cloning humans would be
"morally repugnant," animal cloning and other forms of genetic
manipulation present promising possibilities, particularly in medical applications.
For example, consider Rosie the transgenic cow. (Sounds
like a Disney flop, no?) Backed by the same company that brought us Dolly,
scientists have created a cow--Rosie--whose milk contains a human milk protein
that can be used to feed premature babies who cannot nurse. Though Rosie
looks and acts like a cow, she is "transgenic" because human genes
were mixed with hers when she was just an embryo.