The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recognizes the intense debates within our society on the issue of human cloning. Since 1997, AAAS has engaged the public and various professional communities in dialogue on the scientific and social issues associated with human cloning and stem cell research. Those experiences form the backdrop for this statement on human cloning.
Ban Reproductive Cloning
AAAS endorses a legally enforceable ban on efforts to implant a human cloned embryo for the purpose of reproduction. The scientific evidence documenting the serious health risks associated with reproductive cloning, as shown through animal studies, make it unconscionable to undertake this procedure. At the same time, we encourage continuing open and inclusive public dialogue, in which the scientific community is an active participant, on the scientific and ethical aspects of human cloning as our understanding of this technology advances.
Support Stem Cell Research (including Research Cloning)
AAAS supports stem cell research, including the use of nuclear transplantation techniques (also known as research or therapeutic cloning), in order to realize the enormous potential health benefits this technology offers. Such benefits are likely to be many years away. If they are to be realized at all, however, it will only be through carefully designed research subject to peer review. Because there are religious, ethical, and social concerns raised by the prospect of creating stem cells for research purposes, we believe that research cloning should only proceed under close scrutiny by the federal government over both the public and private sectors.
Exercise Appropriate Oversight
A thorough assessment of existing guidelines and policy, including consideration of possible new regulations specific to this type of research, should be undertaken in light of the concerns surrounding it.