The United Nations set up the special panel last year, at the request of France and Germany, after Italian fertility specialist Severino Antinori announced his intention to become the first scientist to clone a human being.
Numerous firms have since boasted of quick progress in research into the mechanics of cloning a variety of animals as well as humans, their organs and cells.
“Once this technological genie is out of the bottle, trying to control it will be extremely difficult,” said health law professor George Annas of the Boston University School of Public Health. “Governments urgently need to agree upon international policies to ban human reproductive cloning and other technologies of genetic manipulation that could undermine society and our common humanity.”
Annas was one of several scientific experts and human rights activists due to address a news conference at U.N. headquarters today on the need for strong international controls on cloning practices. The treaty drafting process could take years.