Hubris and disastrous attempts to change human nature are not new. Cloning is.
ONE year ago, an obscure Scottish veterinarian named Ian Wilmut demonstrated how to make mammals, and by implication humans, in a laboratory without any act of sexual congress, indeed without sperm or an (intact) egg. Through cloning, a near-perfect genetic replica of a person could be grown from a single cell of skin, or, say, of rib. In the year since, cloning technology has developed rapidly. Experiments on cattle have refined the technique, and chimpanzee embryos have been successfully cloned. The possibility of human cloning now looms imminently, unseen but real.
When the cloned sheep, Dolly, first hit the newspapers, nearly 90 per cent of Americans found human cloning morally repugnant, according to every poll. Perhaps no other moral issue in American history has produced such near unanimity -- not slavery, not Prohibition, not abortion. But politicians have been reluctant to cement this consensus into federal law.
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