Less than a decade ago, the quest to clone human embryonic stem cells fueled a heated scientific race toward a technology that seemed to hold the promise of transforming medicine, by giving doctors the power to create replacement parts customized for individual patients. The quest was front page news and sparked ethical debates.
Harvard University launched an effort to clone human cells in 2006. A major scandal erupted when a South Korean scientist claimed he had successfully cloned embryonic stem cells and then was revealed to be a fraud. A biotech company founded by a fringe movement claimed in 2002 to have cloned such cells and used them for reproductive purposes, generating a media firestorm.