Toronto biotechnology initiative hosts seminar on therapeutic and reproductive cloning|
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Economic Development -- The Toronto Biotechnology Initiative (TBI) hosted a
breakfast seminar today featuring a discussion on the subject of cloning.
Cloning in the scientific sense of the word refers to the process of
duplicating biological material.
TBI is a non-profit organization committed to promoting the growth of
biotechnology in Toronto. It brings together the worlds of research,
government, business and finance, and is one of the largest biotechnology
organizations in North America. The City of Toronto's Economic Development
Division has supported TBI from its inception as part of its continuing efforts
to enhance the international competitiveness of the City's bio-medical industry.
The topic and related question "From Therapeutic to Reproductive Cloning: Is
society on a slippery slope to the acceptance of reproductive cloning?" were
explored from a scientific and philosophic point of view.
Dr. André Schuh is the senior scientist with the Toronto General Hospital
Research Institute and the Stem Cell Network and Assistant Professor of
Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Schuh's work involves investigating
the use of stem cells to treat diseases that have not been cured with
conventional approaches. These diseases include muscular dystrophy,
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, arthritis and diabetes, spinal cord injuries and
blood disorders like hemophilia. He spoke on the pro side of the argument for
Dr. David Castle, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the
University of Guelph, said, "We are on a slippery slope from therapeutic to
reproductive cloning, and it should give us pause for concern. I hope to
persuade you, however, that we are not descending rapidly down that slope, and
even if we are, not all of what's at the bottom is morally repugnant."
Dr. Castle's research and teaching interests are in the philosophy of the life
sciences with particular emphasis on evolutionary biology, environmental
philosophy and the ethical implications of biotechnology. He is the recipient
of ORDCF and Genome Canada Funding to conduct research on biotechnology and
ethics. He is also co-editor of the new book Genetically Modified Foods:
Debating Biotechnology, which will be released in May by Prometheus Press.