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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 22:36 GMT
If... Cloning Could Cure Us
Human embryos were cloned for the first time ever in February this year by Korean scientists.

Britain has also just granted the first research licence for therapeutic cloning to a team at Newcastle University.

Will these new techniques spark a medical revolution, or are scientists playing recklessly with life itself?

Thursday, 16 December, 2004
2100 GMT

The IF series of drama-documentaries returns with an interactive courtroom drama set 10 years in the future, bringing the issues of cloning and stem cell research to life.

Based on rigorous research, the programme is thoroughly grounded in the latest scientific advances in stem cell research, and explores the moral dilemmas and big questions surrounding the issue.


It is 2014.

If... Cloning Could Cure Us
Viewers voted on the verdict of Dr Alex Douglas's trial
A climbing accident has left 28-year-old Andrew Holland paralysed from the waist down.

Celebrated researcher Dr Alex Douglas wants to inject stem cells into Andrew's spine, to regenerate his spinal cord.

If the treatment works, it could help Andrew to walk again.

However the only way that Alex can get the stem cells she needs is to break the law and to take them from a 19-day-old cloned embryo.

Her work is exposed by a whistleblower, and Alex is charged with "illegal experimentation on human embryos".

A landmark trial follows, exploring the revolutionary science and the key issues of current cloning and stem cell research.

Leading scientists and experts, such as Suzi Leather, head of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and pro-life campaigner Josephine Quintavalle, expand on the arguments.


As the judge summed up, the audience was left to decide the verdict in Dr Alex Douglas's case.

The audience voted 81% in favour of a not-guilty verdict (9,381 votes).

19% (2,235 votes) were in favour of a guilty verdict.

The ending to the drama based on the not-guilty verdict was played out following the Newsnight discussion on the programme, hosted by Jeremy Paxman.

The guests discussing the issues with Jeremy Paxman for the Newsnight debate were:

  • John Harris, professor of bioethics at Manchester university
  • Sue Mayer, director of GeneWatch UK
  • Dr Donald Bruce, director of the Society, Religion and Technology Project, Church of Scotland
  • Andrew Slorance, broadcaster and journalist

Series editor: Mary Downes
Producer: Peter Morgan
Associate producer: John Hay



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