A controversial Harvard-educated physicist generated a new wave of hoopla in the scientific community last week when he announced his newest conception--cloning himself.
Dr. Richard G. Seed '49, who also holds a masters and Ph.D. from Harvard--but no medical degree--provoked a slew of criticism with his comments made during a panel discussion on cloning sponsored by the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences (APLS).
"It's absolute nonsense," said Professor George Annas of the Boston University School of Public Health. Annas was one of the seven other panel members who took part in the cloning discussions. "I don't think we can take [Seed's comments] seriously. It's just a publicity stunt."
Seed, who did not return numerous phone calls to his home last weekend, gained notoriety earlier this year when he first announced that he would begin cloning experiments on humans. His abstract, submitted prior to the debate, looked favorably at the benefits of human cloning, calling it a "legitimate treatment of infertility" and an "expression of immortality."
During last week's panel discussion, Seed said he would start by cloning himself to "defuse the criticism that I'm taking advantage of desperate women with a procedure that's not proven."
But many doubt that Seed, who has no medical degree or known funding, will actually succeed.
The APLS is an international and interdisciplinary association of scholars, scientists, and policymakers concerned with problems that involve politics or public policy as well as the life sciences. According to Gary R. Johnson, the group's executive director, human cloning was just one of the many issues discussed at last week's annual meeting held in Boston.
"We are a non-partisan group," he said. "We invited Seed to make sure there was an outspoken advocate of cloning on the panel."
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