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Of all the peculiarities of the stem cell debate, perhaps the strangest lies with the technique variously known as research cloning, biomedical cloning, or somatic cell nuclear transfer. Only a tiny portion of the work on embryonic stem cells taking place today involves research cloning, yet it accounts for nearly all the serious problems associated with stem cell research—the practice of putting women at risk to obtain their eggs, the prospect of medical treatments unaffordable to all but the extremely wealthy, and the risk of cloned embryos being misused in efforts to produce cloned or genetically modified children.

Yet cloned human embryos have become a sought-after prize, and researchers have declared a renewed "cloning race" now that the claims of Hwang Woo-Suk and his colleagues have been discredited. Hwang, possibly along with other members of his research team, committed fraud and deception in pursuit of the fortune and fame they believed research cloning would deliver. Women are being asked to undergo significant health risks to provide eggs to enable it. Advocates of stem cell research have used it to make...