"Just when you thought it was safe to open your newspaper again, South Korea's infamous Dr. Woo Suk Hwang, the world's first human cloner, is taking his affront to human dignity to new heights. You will remember that this was the fellow who first obtained stem cells by cloning embryos and "disaggregating" them. Then he cloned the world's first dog. Then he came up with the preposterous idea that scientists should write their own ethics rules. And now he is planning to traffic human embryonic stem cells around the globe...."
This story raises all sorts of bioethical issues ranging from whether scientists will feel comfortable with using the research on which this is based as a platform for their own research to whether a decision to use the technology derived from this knowledge can be ethically made.
Many people whose opinions of stem cell research are nuanced may find themselves in a quandry with the idea of creating embryos, nurturing them to a particular stage, and then harvesting them for stem cells.
I hope that the recent hopeful reports describing how usable stem cells can be had without first fertilizing an ovum will make the harvest of human stem cells from developing embryos unneccessary.