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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Friday condemned the cloning of human embryos, calling it the "worst type of exploitation of the human being".
"This ranks among the most morally illicit acts, ethically speaking," said Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Vatican department that helps oversee the Church's position on bioethics issues,.
A U.S. company said on Thursday it used cloning technology to make five human embryos, with the eventual hope of making matched stem cells for patients.
If verified, the team at Stemagen Corp., would be the first to prove they have cloned human beings as a source of stem cells, the master cells of the body -- which scientists hope to harness to repair devastating injuries and cure diseases.
Sgreccia said the cloning research was unjustifiable. He also said it was unnecessary, given advances in similar research that bypasses the controversial use of embryos.