Harvard researchers said they have asked the university's ethics boards for permission to create cloned human embryos for medical research.
The goal of the ethically contentious, privately financed work is to develop new cures for diabetes, Parkinson's disease and other ailments. The approach involves creating cloned human embryos that would be destroyed within days to retrieve stem cells growing within. There are no controls on private embryonic stem-cell research, such as that proposed by the research groups at Harvard.
Several lines of evidence suggest stem cells from cloned embryos have greater potential as medical treatments than stem cells derived from unused embryos at fertility clinics, which are created by in vitro fertilization and are now the major source of stem cells for research.