SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

No. 21 - Session 2003-2004          12 February 2004

HUMAN CLONING - WHEN AND WHY?

Human cloning was today added as a new issue for discussion on the Science and Technology Committee' online consultation into human reproductive technologies and the law. Today's newspaper reports that Korean scientists have successfully cloned 30 human embryos brings closer the prospect of new treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's. Does it also mean that the birth of a cloned human has become closer, and does this matter?

Chairman of the Committee Ian Gibson said "We have had good debates on therapeutic cloning but no-one wants to discuss the real issues on reproductive cloning. Too many scientists and politicians are hiding behind the safety issues and practical difficulties. One day it could be a safe and easy procedure and we have to be ready now to address the real ethical issues."

The Committee's online consultation can be found at www.tellparliament.net

Further information on the inquiry and the work of the Committee can be obtained from Committee staff on 020 7219 2793/4, [email protected] Previous press notices and publications are available on the Committee's internet homepage: www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_and_technology_committee.cfm

Notes for Editors

• Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Committee is empowered to examine the "expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies". The Committee was appointed on 12 November 2001.

• The consultation is being managed by the Hansard Society is an independent organisation established to promote effective parliamentary democracy.

• The Committee's Inquiry into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law was announced on 24 October 2003, press notice no. 45, session 2002-03.