Cloning Essay, Research Paper
It is probably only a matter of time before a human being is cloned. Already animals have been cloned and the race for the first cloned human is well under way, be it legal or not. What will happen when this first human is cloned? Many questions surrounding this topic are asked now and the answers are not far off as the human clone lies on the horizon. Twenty years ago, the only talk of human cloning was in science fiction movies, but with the 1994 cloning of a sheep named Dolly has people waiting, rather than wondering, for the first cloned human. What will happen when news of the first cloned human reaches the public?
The process used to clone Dolly, a sheep cloned in 1994, is a technology called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Most likely, this same process will be used when the first human is cloned. This process consists of the researchers removing the nucleus, which holds the DNA, of one cell and injecting it into an egg cell in which the nucleus has been removed. The embryo which contains the donor’s DNA, or genetic blueprint, is implanted into the womb of a female and carried to term.
The opportunities that would come with a human clone are endless. Diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s may be able to be reversed, faulty organs could be replaced by a perfect match, and spinal cord injuries may be able to be repaired. While the benefits of cloning are evident, at this time, a federal ban is held on all human cloning. Though many benefits are available, it is important to realize that while Dolly was successfully cloned, 28 other embryos were aborted while in the embryonic stage. The long term effects that a clone can encounter have not been determined, and more animal testing is needed before human trials begin.
When human cloning is established, who would be a worthy candidate for the procedure? It is foolish to think that a Hitler like regime would be possible with the somatic cell cloning procedure. A clone of a human would begin its life cycle as an embryo and would not instantaneously produce a copy of an adult. It is also important to remember that an individuals life and attitude is shaped by not only genetics, but by the environment and experiences that one gains in a lifetime. Even identical twins, the closest relationship we have to clones, exhibit different physical and mental characteristics.
Those that would most likely benefit from the process of cloning would be individuals that lack the ability to produce the sperm or egg necessary to produce children. For example, a male that lacks the ability to produce sperm could have a nucleus from one of his cells inserted into an egg cell from his partner. The child born would be an identical twin of his father. Another group that would find cloning beneficial would be lesbian couples. Obviously, two females can not bear a child, so cloning could be used to create a child for the couple without using the sperm of a donor male.
A third probable beneficiary of cloning would be couples or individuals whose genes carry mutations, lethal or otherwise. At this time, a couple that carries a genetic disease has no way of knowing if their children will inherit the trait. With cloning, they could assure that their child would have a normal set of chromosomes. Cloning also makes possible gene cloning; actually altering or replacing an individual’s defective gene sequence. Gene therapy could help individuals afflicted with Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, or Huntington’s disease.
The mention of the benefits of genetic cloning brings to light the question of ethical issues. One may assume, if human life can be altered, why not go a step further and enhance human life. In turn, surely we would see stronger strands of disease and infection. What is the limit that we will go to? If cloning is determined to be safe, what will the life of a cloned child be like?
It is safe to assume though, that someday, somewhere a human clone will be made. Quiet possible, the process has already started. The technology is available and one knows the instant stardom that awaits the first cloned human. With the first clone will come the answer to everyone’s questions. Whether it be 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months, the human clone is very near on the horizon.