"Any Human Cell - iPS, Direct Programmed, Embryonic, Fetal or Adult - Can Be Genetically Engineered to Asexually Reproduce New Human Embryos for Purposes of Reproduction ('Infertility')"

IV. The Real Science

In the real world, there is no such thing scientifically as a "pre-embryo", or "just a genetic individual" as opposed to a "developmental individual. Nor are all the cells of the early human embryo "pluripotent"; many are "totipotent" (as the abject fact of naturally occurring human identical twins makes clear). Nor do only the cells of the inner cell mass of the blastocyst become the later adult and none of the cells from the inner cell mass become part of the placenta, umbilical cord, etc. There is some interchange between the cell layers. Nor is the embryo just a "fertilized egg", or just a "clump of cells", or appear only when the zygote is formed, or appear later after the zygote is formed, or appear after implantation - or even a week after that at 14-days. Nor is the old passe "biogenetics law" any longer scientifically valid. Etc., etc., etc.

All of these and similar supposed "scientific facts" of human embryology have long been formally rejected by the international nomenclature committee on human embryology. And despite the sowing of deep Jesuitical doubts as to when a new human embryo begins to exist by the likes of many researchers, lawyers, theologians, and philosophers, or by the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, there really is no doubt or confusion as to when a new human embryo begins to exist -- and hasn't been for over 125 years. The real experts to ask about the accurate scientific facts of human embryology are the scientific experts in human embryology who are academically credentialed Ph.D. human embryologists - not the "experts" in cell biology, genetics, doctors, nurses, theologians, lawyers or politicians, secretaries, news journalists, etc. A "consensus" on scientific facts should not rely on a "consensus" delivered by non-scientists, or even by scientists who are not in the specific scientific field at issue.

As already stated, the known facts of the science of human embryology are hardly "new". The first to study the human embryo systematically was Wilhelm His, Sr., who established the basis of reconstruction, i.e., the assembling of three-dimensional form from microscopic sections. His, who has been called the "Vesalium of human embryology," published his three-volume masterpiece Anatomie menschlicher Embryonen in 1880-85 [His, Vogel, Leipzig]. In it the human embryo was studied as a whole for the first time. A detailed Handbook of Human Embryology by Keibel and Mall appeared in 1910-12. Franklin P. Mall, who studied under His, established the Carnegie Embryological Collection in Baltimore and was the first person to stage human embryos (in 1914). Mall's collection soon became the most important repository of human embryos in the world and has ever since served as a "Bureau of Standards" for the science of human embryology. Mall's successor, George L. Streeter, laid down the basis of the currently used staging system for human embryos (1942-48), which was instituted in 1942, completed by Ronan O'Rahilly (1973) and revised by O'Rahilly and Fabiola Muller (1987), and updated every 3-5 years by the international nomenclature committee (FIPAT) - to the present (January 2011). This committee consists of 20-25 Ph.D. human embryologists from around the world.96 You can't get more objective or current than that.

Since 1942, anyone could have checked out the well-known and well-documented facts of human embryology by going to the library or now online - including literally every person noted in this article. For those who want to know the real facts of human embryology, see the current website of the Human Development Anatomy Center: http://nmhm.washingtondc.museum/collections/hdac/Education_Projects.htm. This is also the home of the Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryonic Development. See Carnegie Stage One (phases a, b, and c) at: http://nmhm.washingtondc.museum/collections/hdac/stage1.pdf;97 and see all 23 Stages of the early developing human embryo at: http://nmhm.washingtondc.museum/collections/hdac/Select_Stage_and_Lab_Manual.htm.98 Click into the "textbook" at the bottom left side of the screen at each "stage" to access more extensive details and the extensive scientific references.

The most recent updating of the Carnegie Stages (Jan. 2011) by the international nomenclature committee on human embryology, i.e., the Terminologia Embryologica Committee is also available online. To use this new website for the Terminologia Embryologica online go to FIPAT, at: http://www.unifr.ch/ifaa/.99 Click on "Free access to published terminologies", "Enter" to get to: http://www.unifr.ch/ifaa/Public/EntryPage/HomePublic.html. You are now on the Public Entry Page; Click into "Source terminologies as originally published", to get to: http://www.unifr.ch/ifaa/Public/EntryPage/ViewSource.html. This page lists the 3 Terminologias; To the right of the page, under "Terminologia Embryologica, from internal document (2009)", Click on e2.0: "Ontogeny" to get to: http://www.unifr.ch/ifaa/Public/EntryPage/ViewTE/TEe02.html. You are viewing "Page 8"; now use buttons at the top right to move to Page 10 to arrive at description of Carnegie Stages 1-5 in Chart; The right side of chart provides documentation of the first 5 Stages; see especially "Single cell EMBRYO [St. 1].

"The Virtual Human Embryo" is probably easier to use. Developed by human embryologist Dr. Ray Gasser (a member of the international nomenclature committee), it is housed at the Cell Biology and Anatomy Department, Louisiana State University's Health Sciences Center, at: http://virtualhumanembryo.lsuhsc.edu/.100 To access the various stages of the new sexually reproduced developing human embryo from their main page, click the "DREM Project" at the middle-left of the page, which brings you to: http://virtualhumanembryo.lsuhsc.edu/DREM/DREM_home.htm. From there click "Enter"; and then click into "Demo" on the left of the page. This brings you to a listing of all the Carnegie Stages.

iPhone apps are even available for the Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryonic Development, entitled "Embryo", National Library of Medicine, at: http://apps.usa.gov/embryo/.101 The Endowment for Human Development has also recently published, "The Virtual Human Embryo: Digitally Reproduced Embryonic Morphology" (Nov. 23, 2011), DVD available, at: http://www.ehd.org/virtual-human-embryo/.102

The following is just an example of how the real scientific facts refute many of the scientific "myths" perpetuated over the last 40 years or more, including many "myths" still perpetuated in the area of human cloning and human stem cell research.

For example, this international nomenclature committee formally rejected the false scientific term "pre-embryo" co-created by Jesuit theologian Richard McCormick and Clifford Grobstein in the mid-1960's. As succinctly put by O'Rahilly (one of the originators of the Carnegie Stages) and Muller:

"The term 'pre-embryo' is not used here for the following reasons: (1) it is ill-defined because it is said to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or to include neurulation; (2) it is inaccurate because purely embryonic cells can already be distinguished after a few days, as can also the embryonic (not pre-embryonic!) disc; (3) it is unjustified because the accepted meaning of the word embryo includes all of the first 8 weeks; (4) it is equivocal because it may convey the erroneous idea that a new human organism is formed at only some considerable time after fertilization; and (5) it was [used] in 1986 'largely for public policy reasons' (Biggers). ... Just as postnatal age begins at birth, prenatal age begins at fertilization." (O'Rahilly and Muller 2001, p. 88)... The ill-defined and inaccurate term pre-embryo, which includes the embryonic disc, is said either to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or to include neurulation. The term is not used in this book.. (O'Rahilly and Muller 1994, p. 55)... The term conception, however, may refer either to fertilization or to implantation and hence (like gestation) is best avoided." (O'Rahilly and Muller 2001, p. 19).103 (emphases added)

Even professor of molecular biology at Princeton University, Lee Silver - an enthusiastic promoter of reproductive technology, an evolutionist, eugenicist and ardent population controller -- understood that the term "pre-embryo" was just a ruse. This well-known author of the controversial book, Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family (1998) noted wrily:

"I'll let you in on a secret. The term pre-embryo has been embraced wholeheartedly by IVF practitioners for reasons that are political, not scientific. The new term is used to provide the illusion that there is something profoundly different between a six-day-old embryo and a sixteen-day-old embryo. The term is useful in the political arena-where decisions are made about whether to allow early embryo experimentation-as well as in the confines of a doctor's office where it can be used to allay moral concerns that might be expressed by IVF patients."104

Infertility specialist and embryologist Jonathan Van Blerkom acknowledged the same for human embryos asexually reproduced by cloning:

"The same is true for cloned embryos. To claim that an embryo produced by cloning is not really an embryo, in order to justify destructive research, is arbitrary and 'self-serving, says embryologist Jonathan Van Blerkom of the University of Colorado."105

Likewise, the old now-defunct but still used "Biogenetic Law" is also scientifically inaccurate and rejected:

"Recapitulation, the So-Called Biogenetic Law. The theory that successive stages of individual development (ontogeny) correspond with ('recapitulate') successive adult ancestors in the line of evolutionary descent (phylogeny) became popular in the nineteenth century as the so-called biogenetic law. This theory of recapitulation, however, has had a regrettable influence on the progress of embryology (G. de Beer). ... According to the 'laws' of von Baer, general characters (e.g., brain, notochord) appear in development earlier than special characters (e.g., limbs, hair). Furthermore, during its development an animal departs more and more from the form of other animals. Indeed, the early stages in the development of an animal are not like the adult stages of other forms but resemble only the early stages of those animals. The pharyngeal clefts of vertebrate embryos, for example, are neither gills nor slits. Although a fish elaborates this region into gill slits, in reptiles, birds, and mammals it is converted into such structures as the tonsils and the thymus."106 (emphases added)

However, as noted, false scientific information is obviously "helpful" when used to insert legal loopholes into laws and regulations (among other things).

Likewise, the term "egg" or "fertilized egg" that is used to imply that there is no human being present immediately at fertilization is also scientifically erroneous, as also noted in the Carnegie Stages: "The term 'egg' is best reserved for a nutritive object frequently seen on the breakfast table."107

The 23 Carnegie Stages108 consist of the accurate scientific information on the developing human embryo, the human being, through 8 weeks post-fertilization. Stage One is characterized by "unicellularity", from "first contact" of the sperm with the oocyte at the beginning of the process of fertilization through the formation of the zygote at the end of the process of fertilization. Thus the "zygote" is not when a new sexually reproduced human being begins to exist. Likewise, there is no such thing as the "fertilized egg Stage". The single-cell human embryo considered at this Stage of sexual reproduction is absolutely not just an "egg" or a "fertilized egg", but has been substantially changed into a new genetically unique living human being, a new human organism:

"Embryonic life commences with fertilization, and hence the beginning of that process may be taken as the point de depart of stage 1. Despite the small size and weight of the organism at fertilization, the embryo is "schon ein individual-spezifischer Mensch" [definitely and specifically a human person] (Blechschmidt, 1972). ... Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with an oocyte or its investments and ends with the intermingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes at metaphase of the first mitotic division of the zygote (Brackett et al, 1972). ... Fertilization, which takes place normally in the ampulla of the uterine tube i.e., fallopian tube - not the uterus], includes (a) contact of spermatozoa with the zona pellucida of an oocyte, penetration of one or more spermatozoa through the zona pellucida and the ooplasm, swelling of the spermatozoal head and extrusion of the second polar body, (b) the formation of the male and female pronuclei, and (c) the beginning of the first mitotic division, or cleavage, of the zygote. ... The three phases (a, b, and c) referred to above will be included here under stage 1, the characteristic feature of which is unicellularity. ... The term "ovum", which has been used for such disparate structures as an oocyte and a 3-week embryo, has no scientific usefulness and is not used here. Indeed, strictly speaking, "the existence of the ovum... is impossible" (Franchi, 1970).109 (emphases added)

These accurate internationally documented scientific facts are then professionally required to be used by human embryologists in their textbooks. For example, the following direct quotations from human embryology textbooks make it absolutely clear that the single-cell human embryo sexually reproduced at fertilization is not an "egg", or "just a cell", but a new genetically unique single-cell living individual human being:

Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of an egg and a sperm. (p. 3);... finally, the fertilized egg, now properly called an embryo, must make its way into the uterus (p. 3);... The sex of the future embryo is determined by the chromosomal complement of the spermatozoon... Through the mingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes, the [embryo] is a genetically unique product of chromosomal reassortment.. [Bruce M. Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1994 ), p. 31; ibid, Carlson 1999, pp., 2, 23, 27, 32].

In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. ... Fertilization takes place in the oviduct [not the uterus]... resulting in the formation of an [embryo] containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point. (p. 1); [William J. Larsen, Human Embryology (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997), p. 17].

O'Rahilly 2001 - Table 8-1 Principal Features of Developmental States of the early human embryo: Stage 1 - Includes penetrated oocyte, ootid, and zygote. Thus accordingly, the penetrated oocyte and the ootid (before syngamy) are characterized as an already existing human embryo at Stage 1 of development. [Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology & Teratology (New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001), p. 89].

The same is true of the single-cell human embryo reproduced asexually (without the immediate use of sperm and oocyte), as we know happens in naturally occurring human monozygotic twinning in the woman's body, as well as in the laboratory - and as documented by the current researchers identified in the first part of this article. Human asexual reproduction, as in identical twinning, is also addressed in Carnegie Stages 2,3,4, and 5. Once the DNA in the cell/s is "appropriately organized", or in the same state as the DNA in the cell of the earliest human embryo, that new human being simply proceeds through the same developmental stages as those documented by the Carnegie Stages. Strachan and Reed perhaps explain asexual reproduction most succinctly in describing one kind of cloning (SCNT):

The term 'clones' indicates genetic identity and so can describe genetically identical molecules (DNA clones), genetically identical cells or genetically identical organisms. Animal clones occur naturally as a result of sexual reproduction. For example, genetically identical twins are clones who happened to have received exactly the same set of genetic instructions from two donor individuals, a mother and a father. A form of animal cloning can also occur as a result of artificial manipulation to bring about a type of asexual reproduction. The genetic manipulation in this case uses nuclear transfer technology: a nucleus is removed from a donor cell then transplanted into an oocyte whose own nucleus has previously been removed. ... The individual providing the donor nucleus and the individual that develops from the 'renucleated' oocyte are usually described as "clones", but it should be noted that they share only the same nuclear DNA; they do not share the same mitochondrial DNA, unlike genetically identical twins. ... Wilmut et al (1997) reported successful cloning of an adult sheep. For the first time, an adult nucleus had been reprogrammed to become totipotent once more, just like the genetic material in the fertilized oocyte from which the donor cell had ultimately developed. ... Successful cloning of adult animals has forced us to accept that genome modifications once considered irreversible can be reversed and that the genomes of adult cells can be reprogrammed by factors in the oocyte to make them totipotent once again. [Tom Strachan and Andrew P. Read, Human Molecular Genetics 2 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 1999), pp. 508-509]. (emphases added)

All of these and far more genuine real-world objective scientific facts of human embryology are available to anyone who goes to the library and looks it up, or even found on the internet with access around the world.

V. Final Comments

International agreement and documentation by the real experts in human embryology and human molecular genetics for many many decades make the following perfectly clear. The new single-cell human embryo formed sexually at the beginning of the process of fertilization (when the sperm makes first contact and fuses with the oocyte) is a new living human being, a human organism. The new human embryo formed asexually by various natural or artificial reproductive techniques is a new living human being, a human organism (when the DNA in the cell/s is "appropriately organized"). They are not "passing through stages of evolution", or "pre-embryos", or "eggs", or just "clumps of cells", and the accurate scientific facts reject such "myths". It is not just "rogue" scientists" that should be firmly and totally rejected, but "rogue" science as well.

The real-world consequences of using this "rogue" science is startling - not just to small unborn or born human children, but also to sick vulnerable patients who are willing to try anything, and to desperate infertile women who will try anything as well. It would "scientifically justify" many unethical pursuits, e.g.: abortion, the use of abortifacients, "embryo flushing", research on newly implanted embryos already within the woman's womb or even until birth, human cloning (for making "disease models", for "therapies", and especially reproductive cloning), human embryo research, human embryonic stem cell research, ANT, OAR, and iPS research, and many more in the pipelines to come. Consider that, if one can asexually reproduce a new human embryo from just a human cell, then that embryo can in turn be used to asexually reproduce more human embryos, who in turn could be used to asexually reproduce more human embryos, etc. - all of which could be implanted into women's wombs to be serially aborted for necessary "data", or brought to term. The possibilities are endless - at least the Nano/Bio/Info/Cogno got that right.

The scientific content of new laws, regulations and "guidelines", such as those envisioned by UNESCO, should obviously not be determined by mere "consensus" of politicians, policy makers, lobbyists, etc., as might be interpreted in the 2002 Conference on Converging Technologies (Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno) Report. Nor should they be determined by scientists who have no academically relevant or credible credentials in that specific field - as is long required by international research guidelines such as the Nuremberg Code:

"The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment."110

And also the Declaration of Helsinki:

"Medical research involving human subjects must conform to generally accepted scientific principles, be based on a thorough knowledge of the scientific literature, other relevant sources of information, and adequate laboratory and, as appropriate, animal experimentation. ... Medical research involving human subjects must be conducted only by individuals with the appropriate scientific training and qualifications."111

Even the requirements in these international documents for legally and ethically valid "informed consent" must be honored. Those who provide or donate their cells and embryos for research, as well as those desperate sick patients and infertile women into whom such experimental cells and embryos would be injected or implanted, must be given relevant scientifically accurate definitions and descriptions of what in involved, including the accurate scientific definition of a "human embryo".

The burning questions are starkly before us. Do the ends justify the means? Can we simply deconstruct the accurate scientific facts for some purported "ethical" end? Do the representative research studies documented above represent the accurate real-world scientific facts of human embryology and human molecular genetics, or do they really represent "rogue" science"? Precisely how are they defining the relevant scientific terms of human embryology? And are such research studies being performed by genuinely sound academically credentialed research scientists, or by "rogue" scientists hiding behind deconstructed "science"? What about the "rogue" sponsors and funders of such research? And will UNESCO and other local, state, national, international and professional medical and scientific organizations continue to perpetuate such "rogue" science and scientists? Or is it too late? ... Winston Duke, at least, would be quite proud of the current state of affairs.

Next Page: Endnotes
1, 2, 3, 4, 5