Q&A: Human cloning
LONDON, England (CNN) -- A group of European and U.S. researchers have said they will begin attempts to clone a human being in November.
Italian obstetrician Severino Antinori and U.S. researcher Panos Zavos say 200 couples have volunteered to take part in the cloning procedure. CNN reporter Chris Burns in Italy assesses the situation.
Q: Is human cloning really feasible?
A: Italian professor Severino Antinori contends that it is, following successful tests with various species of animals.
Q: How will the cloning process be conducted?
A: Dr. Antinori plans to choose from hundreds of candidates he says have applied to be involved with cloning. The candidates are couples unable to have children because the male is sterile. If the process goes ahead, the nucleus from a cell in the male will replace the nucleus of his partner's embryo, then the embryo is implanted in the woman's uterus. Antinori plans to begin human cloning in November.
Q: What are the dangers?
A: Other scientists opposing the move have warned there are risks of possible miscarriage and deformity in any cloned humans, as happened with animals during attempts to create the cloned sheep, Dolly, at the Roslin Institute in Scotland in 1997. Antinori insists that can be avoided and his patients will not have deformed children, although he has not yet said how he can ensure this.
Q: With so many barriers to human cloning across the world, where is the process likely to be conducted?
A: Antinori says he will carry out his plan in a remote country, or on a ship in international waters if necessary.
Q: Will any authority oversee the process?
A: Depending on where the process is carried out, one authority or another could oversee the process. The Italian National Order of Doctors plans to question doctors and patients involved in any such programme.
Q: To what extent are the scientists involved liable for their actions?
A: Liability varies among countries. Some nations are more likely to bring litigation than others.
Q: Are opponents to human cloning seeking to block it?
A: The Italian National Order of Doctors has warned Antinori that if he begins to carry out his plan, he could be barred from practicing in Italy. There is no Italian law against cloning yet.
Q: Who are Antinori's main opponents and what are their objections to cloning?
A: In Italy, the Catholic Church, doctors and politicians have all attacked the plan, accusing Antinori of being wrong ethically and also claiming he is "playing God" and using "Nazi-style eugenics". Antinori has rejected the accusations, saying his plans will bring medical benefits to mankind.
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