Frankly, I didn't expect to see much of Nancy Gibbs this month. After she wrote nine cover stories last year on presidential politics and then co-wrote our John Ashcroft cover last month with Michael Duffy, I thought she might take a well-deserved rest. But three weeks ago, she was in my office, urging me to do a cover on human cloning as soon as possible. I not only agreed but also asked Nancy to write it, since she has an extraordinary talent for exploring topics where ethics, religion, politics and science intersect. This is an ideal story for TIME--and just the kind of story I'm confident will fascinate you.
"All the questions around human cloning are linked to arguments we are already having, about where and how to put up some guardrails around scientific progress," says Nancy. "Our journalists spent time with people for whom cloning represents their last hope--infertile couples who have tried every other means of having a genetically related child, grieving parents who see in this research a chance to retrieve some essential part of someone they lost. We're not looking to judge them so much as to understand them, understand why there is a strong and growing market for cloning technology and no shortage of scientists looking to capitalize on it. And that is potentially what poses a risk for all of us. Mainstream scientists are worried that with all these headlines, all this renegade research going on outside any boundaries of regulation or accountability, there is sure to be a backlash, and it could get in the way of some of the most promising avenues of biotech research."
If you would like to discuss the dangers and opportunities of human cloning with Michael Lemonick, our science writer, go to AOL on Wednesday at 7 p.m. E.T. and type in keyword Live.
James Kelly, Managing Editor