In my quest to have the news media correctly describe somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or cloning, and the resulting debates on terminology, I have come to a conclusion. I predict that in 2006 or shortly thereafter, the embryo will be redefined.
Specifically, when a human is succcesfully cloned and then destroyed for its stem cells, the product of SCNT will no longer be called an cloned human embryo. The cloning advocates will come up with some other term that does not include "embryo" the media will adopt it and so will the scientists. It will all be to make sure the average joe does not know that SCNT does in fact create a human life. The "new definition" may even be retroactive. Can anyone say 1984?
I have been told that the term "embryo" is only a matter of opinion. It is not a factual term. So while we can all agree on what an egg, or chromosome or gene is, the term "embryo" is up for debate. Why? Once again for all reasons political.
Ironically, the world of animal cloning, which is well under way, will still use the term embryo.
When doing research on animals no one thinks there needs to be a debate on what constitutes an animal embryo, cloned or otherwise. Why? Because there are no politics attached to cloning cows or sheep.
Imagine Ian Wilmut trying to assert that Dolly, or her sisters who never made it, were not really sheep....actually Dolly was just an "altered egg" that grew into a larger "altered egg" that just looked a sheep, acted like a sheep and smelled like a sheep, but definitely was not a real sheep.