Last month two fertility specialists, an American and an Italian, announced plans to clone a human being in the next two years. If they don’t get the job done, it’s very likely that someone else on the planet will. Margaret Talbot, writing recently in the New York Times, reports that many scientists expect a cloned human to be introduced within five years. “It’s relatively easy to set up a lab and find someone competent to carry out the procedure,” one researcher told Talbot. “From a technical point of view,” said another, “cloning a human being would be a very simple thing.”
Experiments on human cloning are probably taking place somewhere right now. Though U.S. law precludes federal money from being spent on such research, and four states have outlawed cloning for reproductive purposes, the field remains wide open to privately funded efforts.