Ethical Implications Of Human Cloning Essay, Research Paper
Human Cloning and Its Ethical Considerations Any discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply a matter ofscientific inquiry, it is a matter of morality and spirituality as well… Each human life isunique, born of a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science… — President Clinton. Cloning is the production of one or more copies of an individual being. It had itsbeginnings in Germany in 1938 when Han Spemann proposed and conducted a fantasticalexperiment in which he transferred a nucleus from a salamander embryo to create anidentical twin. From that point on, scientists were hooked. Experiments continued; themost recent and provocative one being the cloning of a sheep named Dolly. Thisexperiment gave rise to ideas that cloning humans is possible. This issue has become oneof the most highly controversial ones in the history of mankind. To many it has becomehope for a better future and for others, a direct challenge of their morality and beliefsystem. Taking into account the complexity of the human genome and the struggleinvolving two-hundred and seventy attempts to clone dolly, human clones may be fartheroff than many think. Almost everyone agrees though, that now is the time to decide if thepossible pros outweigh the cons, ethical and scientific. The dangers of human cloning dopresent problem enough to regulate the procedure. The basic cloning procedure with potential for cloning humans is called somaticcloning. In short, it involves taking a nucleus from a mature cell and inserting it in theplace of a nucleus in an egg cell. the egg which now houses DNA from the existingindividual is implanted into a surrogate mother to develop. Fetal Cells have codes thatenable them to develop into every type of cell contained in the body such as those thatmake up organs. After the fetus develops though, the various cells become specializedand their ability to develop into other types of cells is lost. Somatic cloning, as done withDolly the sheep, has proven that cells ability to resemble the original genetic code ispossible ( Human Cloning n. pag). A second type of procedure, embryonic cloning, involves taking a fertilized egg atan early stage of development and dividing it. Two or more genetically identicalindividuals can be produced. This procedure is thought to be more likely for use incloning humans because of the complexity of the human genome. It does not involve turning on genes as in somatic cloning ( Human cloning n.pag). These procedure bothproduce genetically identical individuals. The possibilities of these human cloning procedure are phenomenal. The potentialapplication and dangers of the practice are all still theoretical but possible. Many arguethat the most important result of the human cloning research is the eventual developmentof new scientific discoveries. The main point that advocates of human cloning researchstress is that limiting or banning the efforts would stifle any potential for the advancementof knowledge in some key areas. One of these areas of research with he possibility ofadvancement is infertility. This possibility is based on the idea that cloning will givescientists insight into the function of genes and the embryonic cell and develop a betterunderstanding of why and how things can go wrong during development ( H.C. should ItBe Done n.pag). Another example of potential knowledge gained from cloning comesagain from understanding how to turn on and off the genes in a human cell. Theoretically,controlling these genes could reveal the secret of stopping cancer which is basicallyuncontrollable cell division ( Religious and Ethical Aspects n.pag.). There are alsoclaims for more specific applications of human cloning. One proposition is for theproduction of spare organs instead of having organ donors. Scientists could take cellsamples from any part of the body and inject them into a human egg. The egg would bestopped at a certain point early in development and manipulated by certain proteins to turnon the specific genes necessary tot transform the cell into one that will develop into the type they need (marrow, liver, kidney, etc.) (Berkeley 59). Although there is no proof thatsuch a procedure can be performed on the cells of a human, similar procedures have already been done on other mammals. the type of uses that can be seen as positive butseem to be the most controversial are those that involve the cloning of entire humans. Those in favor claim that it is another way to combat infertility. many advocates aremembers of the gay community who are looking for new way for gay couples to havechildren (Religious and Ethical Aspects n.pag.). Along with the hopes for a good outcome of the development of science come theinevitable dangers and abuses. The diversity of the human reach has driven evolution byintroducing mutations that enable survival. by, cloning on a large scale, the human racemay become de-diversified. In this state, the human race may become particularlyvulnerable to a certain strain of disease and be wiped out (Kass 71). In the wrong hands,human cloning presents many problems. Like Nazi Germany, a super human race couldslowly develop. If sexual orientation is a genetically determined trait, the gay communitycould be eventually developed into a massive community or totally annihilated (Cooke219). many fear that in the hands of a powerful dictator, super intelligent withsuperhuman strength could develop and take over. Perhaps even more controversial are the ethical considerations of human cloning. Assuming that scientists were able to clone human beings, what concerns might there beabout the welfare of clones? Some opponents of cloning believe that such individualswould be morally wronged (Cooke 118). The right to an open future may be
compromised if a child is expected to live up to the expectations that he be as impressiveas his or her adult twin. From a religious aspect, many wonder if man is overstepping alimit. Stepping too close to the creator or playing God causes much concern in thereligious community ( Human Cloning n.pag). Another problem that some religiousleaders have with human cloning is the replication of a soul. The clone s genes, althoughidentical, do not produce a soul which many would argue that God can only create. The uniqueness of ones soul and body would be jeopardized (Kass 56). When cloning toscreen against undesirable traits, the question arises; who determines what is normal orabnormal? Many argue that it cannot be determined. Like any controversy that deals withethical concern, it is hard to determine, on a large base, what is not ethical (Bailey n.pag). Another type of risks that may be potentially associated with human cloning is theeffect that it may have on society. Problems from this perspective deal mainly with ideasof the depletion of diversity from a racial point of view. Genes that code for traits thatdetermine appearance could be manipulated to enhance a race with particular desire toextremes (Berkely 79). If a time were to come that humans were cloning this readily,there would always be some groups that choose not to involve themselves with it. Thesegroups may be viewed as lesser people and such extreme racism may come into place thata form of slavery may develop (Shafer n.pag). If human cloning were not to become quite that large, there still arise problems forthe people who choose not clone themselves to perfection. In order to clone humans toperfection, scientist first have to understand the human genome ( Human Cloning n.pag). In short, determine what each gene codes for. With this understanding, it can bedetermined what traits or weaknesses that someone s genetic code has. The people whochoose to have children naturally without any type of genetic engineering such as cloningmay be subject to privacy issues. Insurance companies argue that they should be able tohave this information (Bailey n.pag). The likelihood of human cloning comes from ideas of those who foresee manywonderous prospects for the procedure. Most of the medical procedures envisioned bythose who wish to pioneer the science of human cloning involve the cloning of specifictypes of cells and implanting them into the body. Advocates imply that there would nolonger be a need for organ donors ( H.C. Should It be Done? n.pag). The reason that there is no way to generate specific types of cells from other cells in the body is thatscientists must first, again find which genes determine which traits, and more importantlyhow to turn off the genes they do not want expressed, and turn on they ones they do. This is possible because each cell of the body has exactly the same DNA content (Horve215). The cells of an organ though express certain parts traits coded by the DNA. Thehope is that with the understanding of how to switch genes on and off, scientists could persuade the code to produce healthy cells that develop for implanting back into thebody ( Religious and Ethical Aspects n.pag). The most powerful arguement for thistype of research and development comes in hope that understanding how to switch thegenes on and off will lead to a better way to control or even cure cancer which is basicallyuncontrollable cell division (Mertons 97). Researchers in the area of infertility are alsohave hope that research in cloning will give a better understanding of problems for infertilecouples. Supporters combat the arguements that human cloning is unnatural by sitingmother nature and natural cloning. One in every seventy-five births are currently clones(Etzioni 13). Identical twins have exactly the same DNA. The point made is that thereshould be no fear of human clones because they naturally occur. The furtherunderstanding that may come as a result of cloning is a large factor in the argumentagainst regulation or outlawing cloning research. Regulation of the any area of scientific research is always controversial. Currentlyin the United States there is already a group that has been created to watch over thecloning community and debate the scientific and ethical dangers all types of geneticengineering ( the National Bio-Ethics Advisory Commision). Their advice advice leadPresident Clinton to ask researchers to stop progress until a more final determination onthe dangers is made (Bailey n.pag). Senatory Christopher bond has though introduced abill to ban federal funding of cloning saying this type of reserach on humans is morally reprehensible. Cloning reseach and procedures are banned in the United Kingdom,France, and Germany (Shafer n.pag). According to a 1997 CNN pool, eighty-nine percent believe that human cloning isunacceptable and seventy-four percent believe that it is against God s will. At this point itis obvious that the effects of human cloning are all speculation and some even seem a bitfantastical and dreamy. As seen in the poll though, people feel that human cloning hasmany problems to be dealt with. Cloning challenges many religioius beliefs and for someimplies an attempt at playing God. It also may put the human race in a succeptableposition for harm. At the same time it builds follows the human drive for progress byoffering the possibility of curing cancer and replacing bad tissues in the body. Humancloning also presents another area where human society as a whole must make a decisionwhere to limit what can be done. Like nuclear weapons, human cloning presents potentialdanger and possibility where can does some mean necessarily mean ought . Becausehuman cloning in its purest form is meant to be good, it s potential must be harnessed anddriven in that direction and steered away from the other. Therefore, human cloningpresents dangers enough to regulate it.