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Dolly Scientist Says Abandon Embryonic Stem Cell Research

December 6th, 2011

by Steven Ertelt

Ian Wilmut, the scientist who achieved international notoriety for cloning the sheep Dolly, is now urging his fellow scientists and researchers to abandon embryonic stem cell research.

His comments at a conference follow on the major news that Geron, a cloning company the Obama administration funded to undertake the first human clinical trials involving embryonic-like stem cells, abruptly canceled the trials and got out of the embryonic stem cell research business.

Wilmut spoke to researchers at a late November event in California and said that embryonic stem cells are not likely going to show promise because they lead to the development of tumors after injected into animals in studies and that scientists should focus their energies on non-embryonic stem cell research. Wilmut is particularly impressed by direct programming, a process that takes adult stem cells and reverts them to an embryonic-like state without purposefully creating and destroying human embryos.

“I’m not quite sure why this hasn’t been pursued more actively,” said Wilmut, according to a report in the North County Times.

Baptist Press noticed the newspaper article on the speech and said it “paraphrased him as saying direct reprogramming would provide the benefits of embryonic stem cell research without the risks. The government, he added, likely won’t spend money on embryonic research if a safer method is available.”

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