jan 01, 2004 eurweb.com
TECHNOLOGY BREAKDOWN: Now For Something Completely Different
by Russell de Pina
In the January 2004 issue of Wired magazine, Wendy Goldman Rohm recounts how a team of researchers from a biotech company called Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) was able to introduce genetic material into unfertilized eggs, and chemically stimulating the cell division process that marks the beginning stages in the development of a human embryo. Wait a minute - isn't that cloning, and isn't cloning illegal in the US? Yes, on both counts (well count 2 may be kind of shaky). However, the ACT researchers' only (stated) interest in cloning is for theraputic cloning, that is, to find a process for harvesting embryonic stem cells that does not use an aborted fetus. While I could write a couple of columns just on the how the ACT team did what they did and the moral implications involved, since these are holiday times, let's look at some different questions. Given that it is possible to jumpstart the creation of an embryo, would that provide some of the requisite scientific underpinnings for explaining the virgin birth of Jesus Christ? Once we start down that road, it leads to all kinds of other questions - ones that are much bigger than the problems of outsourcing, the global economy, the digital divide, etc. Then, when we start looking at questions like these, it becomes like a nautilus shell -- seemingly an infinite spiral of questions and answers that ultimately lead to the big ones. You know the "Where did I come from?", "Why am I here?", "Does God exist?" kind of questions.
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