Human reproductive cloning: The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Henry T. Greely, BA '74

(This op-ed was first published in Stat News on February 21, 2020.)

Sometimes what doesn’t happen is as interesting as what does.

Cloning human embryos has been possible for nearly seven years. Yet as far as I know, during that time no one has made a cloned baby or, apparently, has tried to make one. And what I find most surprising is that no one has announced they intend to make one.

Why is this surprising? Let’s go back almost 23 years to Feb. 23, 1997. On that day, news leaked out that the scientific journal Nature was about to publish a report of the birth of the first mammal cloned from adult cells — a sheep named Dolly. The world was shocked, surprised, scared, titillated.

(Continue reading the op-ed on Stat News’ page here.)

Henry T. Greely, J.D., is professor of law and professor by courtesy of genetics at Stanford University, where he directs the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences and chairs the steering committee for the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics.