From the U.K. Daily Telegraph comes this little piece of sunshine. Dr. Ian Wilmut, the man mainly responsible for cloning Dolly the sheep, has announced that he will eschew”therapeutic cloning” of human embryos, partly because of ethical considerations, but mostly because it doesn’t work.

Emphasis mine:

Prof Wilmut, who works at Edinburgh University, believes a rival method pioneered in Japan has better potential for making human embryonic cells which can be used to grow a patient’s own cells and tissues for a vast range of treatments, from treating strokes to heart attacks and Parkinson’s, and will be less controversial than the Dolly method, known as “nuclear transfer.”

His announcement could mark the beginning of the end for therapeutic cloning, on which tens of millions of pounds have been spent worldwide over the past decade. “I decided a few weeks ago not to pursue nuclear transfer,” Prof Wilmut said.

Most of his motivation is practical but he admits the Japanese approach is also “easier to accept socially.”

His inspiration comes from the research by Prof Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University, which suggests a way to create human embryo stem cells without the need for human eggs, which are in extremely short supply, and without the need to create and destroy human cloned embryos, which is bitterly opposed by the pro life movement.

Prof Yamanaka has shown in mice how to turn skin cells into what look like versatile stem cells potentially capable of overcoming the effects of disease.

This pioneering work to revert adult cells to an embryonic state has been reproduced by a team in America and Prof Yamanaka is, according to one British stem cell scientist, thought to have achieved the same feat in human cells.

(. . .)

So, not only has embryonic stem cell research yet to produce a single duplicable therapeutic treatment, it is also now, according to the godfather of cloning, completely unnecessary. Members of the Christopher Reeve/Nancy Regan/John McCain League of Death take note.