Future Of Cloning Essay, Research Paper
Biotechnology has made great improvements within the last few decades. There has been much hoopla recently about one major improvement in particular, gene therapy. Although it has brought us wonderful new practices such as in-vitro fertilization, there still seems to be a great deal of scandal concerning how far scientists with go in their quest to control natural selection. The world is divided in their views on cloning, an experiment that has not only the science world, but society in general both amazed and frightened by its possibilities. Since the cloning of Dolly the sheep, people have been talking about what sort of disaster this can cause as well as what good it can bring humankind. Many people fear repercussions similar to those in Adlous Huxley s novel, Brave New World, in which cloning was not used to humanity s advantage, but rather destructively side, cloning people like Hitler and the sort.
Also, cloning has recently become a possibility that seems much more feasible in today s society then it was twenty years go, with the birth of Dolly, a cloned adult sheep. Dolly left citizens of the United States as well as the rest of the world wondering if they were on the pages of a Science Fiction book on a parallel universe. One of the main problems with this controversy is that there are so many forms cloning can take on. Could parents one day clone their fatally ill children? Or could the clones be the bad or dark image of that person? Or could the technology fall into the hands of malicious people and be used to destroy this planet? Who knows? One can only speculate as to the future, laws, and restrictions of cloning. To look at the future of something one must
look at the major factors involved. To speculate this shady pretense, one might take into consideration what exactly cloning is, what the science world has to say about it, and how Americans feel about it. After those factors have been examined only then, can one look toward the future equipped to make educated guesses.
To begin any project, scientific or not, one must know the area, or field one is studying. Many sources have claimed that cloning is just simply an extension of in-vitro fertilization, but the root of cloning goes further then that. Cloning is the creation of a group of organisms descended from a single individual through asexual reproduction. With the exception of changes in heredity material due to mutation, all members of a clone are genetically identical. Laboratory experiments have resulted in the birth of a frog from a cell of an existing animal. Although, it was the successful in-vitro fertilization of human eggs in 1993 that led to the cloning of human embryos by dividing such fertilized eggs at a very early stage of development (Electronic Encyclopedia). Like in-vitro fertilization, cloning might provide hopeful matters in reproductive choices, maybe to the point where some single women will be able to reproduce without the dependency of the male sperm (Dunn). This technique does not however, produce a clone, but twin and has already been put into use with sheep and other animals. More directly, Grahame Bulfeild, director of the Roslin Institute (where Dolly was cloned) told reporters that his team has previously cloned mammals at various stages of development (CNN.com). What makes Dolly different, he stated, is that she was not cloned from sex cells, but mature mammal cells with no reproductive function. Naturally, these experiments have provoked a seemingly large outcry from varying groups, such as:
ethicists, religious leaders, and many others. Some want to stop cloning completely, and some simply feel as if the government, or someone, should put some regulations or guidelines in to protect human rights.
Americans have spoken out against cloning for several reasons. In a CNN poll taken shortly after the cloning of Dolly was made public, Americans voiced their opinions about the experiment. The poll was based on interviews conducted with 1,005 adult Americans, with a margin of error of three percent. According to the results of the survey, the usefulness of cloning seems to be questionable since most people expressed doubts about consuming food products derived from cloned fruits or animals. More than half of those polled felt it was morally unacceptable to clone animals and a whopping eighty-nine percent felt the cloning of human beings would be morally unacceptable, as well. In fact, nearly three-fourths of those who participated in the survey felt that cloning human was against God s will (CNN.com).
Over all, one would tend to conclude that Americans do not think highly of this cloning business. Americans feel as if cloning will create unnecessary problems and think it should not be practiced. This poll also revealed that only seven percent of Americans would clone themselves. Other gripes about cloning have been that cloning is not natural, and that it runs contrary to natural selection. Some people also feel as if babies should not be mere carbon copies, but unique humans. Either way people may feel, Robert McKinnell, the author of Cloning: A Biologist Reports says, It is much in
the news. The public has been bombarded with newspaper articles, magazine stories, books, television shows, and movies as well as cartoons. Although average Americans seem to be frightened by the possibility of clones running rampant through the streets, the science world seems to look quite favorably upon it.
Cloning is a major breakthrough in the science world. Cloning leaves the world of Biology divided in its thoughts of reproduction. Some scientists believe that if done properly, cloning will give them an insight into matters that they could not study before this phenomenon. Barbara Ehrenreich of Time, wrote, Any normal species would be delighted at the prospect of cloning. No more nasty surprises like sickle cell or Down-syndrome just batch after batch of high grade and, genetically speaking, immortal offspring. She quickly added, any culture that encourages in-vitro fertilization has no right to complain about the market of embryos. She takes on a strong specific standpoint with reasoning of a perfectly healthy population (http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/ mchorost/e306/been/cloning.htm). Dr. Ian Wilmut of the Rolin Institute says, There are a number of genetic diseases for which there is no cure and this will enable us (scientists) to carry out research into the causes of those diseases and perhaps develop method to treat them. One example of the possibilities provided by the new technology, is the ability for parents to clone children who are dying of terminal illnesses (CNN.com).
However, is this truly a possibility, or are we simply fooling ourselves into thinking we can successfully play God? Perhaps this technology would only serve to create a clone suffering from the same exact infliction. These questions have come up time and time again and while some scientists hail cloning as a major breakthrough for research in agriculture, aging, medicine, and genetics, other worry what it may hold for the future (Dunn).
Carl Felbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, states, One of the prospects should not be, perhaps should never be, the extension of this technique to human beings. Now that it may be possible we would say it should be prohibited if necessary by law. In addition to Felbaum s reluctance in human cloning, Stephen Grebe, an associate professor of biology at American University in Washington says, We re going to be facing this issue with humans. With that possibility open, I m concerned without adequate safeguards that this will become a reality. It may very well already be. This seems like a realistic concern, especially in America where we want to be bigger and better in every field. Professor Grebe goes on to question, What about failed experiments? These are really horrific issues and I think there s a moral chasm between the technological ability at this point and the public understanding of the purpose of this (CNN.com). I would assert that is not a line we want to cross. He goes on to say, I would say this is not even a line we want to approach. The population will have to see what happens with this obviously delicate situation in
the future, but for now, we can only speculate.
Whatever the future hold for cloning is a mystery to us all. Whatever the future hold for cloning is a mystery to us all. (A cloned sentence) The knowledge of the subject one is studying is imperative for predictions. Americans and scientists alike have spoken out about cloning, the mix of emotions and views is over-whelming. One thing is for sure; cloning is definitely a possibility for our future. There will be debate surrounding it, just like there is debate surrounding everything in the country. Hopefully it will not fall into the wrong hands, making this wonderful thing a disaster.