This is the question posed by pro-cloning ethicists as reported by the USNews in “Stem Cell Potential Said To Be Undimmed.” (Also available from the Miami Herald or CBS, here.)
Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist at Northwestern University, said the “tragic lies and fraud” connected with the South Korean scandal begged greater regulation – oversight that would ensure future research is done in view of the public.
“Can scientists ever again be trusted to regulate themselves?” asked Zoloth, who visited Hwang’s lab before the scandal broke. “I don’t know. I think the jury is still out on that one.”
But, remember all the objections we’ve heard through the years about any regulation of cloning and human embryonic stem cell research. Francis Fukuyama has been criticized because of his efforts championing regulation. Alta Charo and Laurie Zoloth have been advocates of scientists’ regulation of themselves, with their support of the National Academy of Sciences’ guidelines, published last year.
Besides, what is President Bush’s funding with restrictions, other than regulation? And, at least it’s regulation that is accountable to the voters. The NAS is not accountable at all to anyone other than members.
On the other hand, it could be that Korea’s government had too much interest in the Hwang cloning work and helped to create the environment that led to the scientist’s and the country’s scandal.
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