Cloning In America Today Essay, Research Paper
During the past few centuries, technology has reached a new level. With breakthroughs from the invention of electricity to the development of the Internet, these advances have made a huge impact on society. Every day brings the question of what will come next, and what technologies will further enhance the world. Science fiction novels and movies are essentially based on the wonder of future technologies. One of the biggest issues in the development of technology is cloning. The word clone is used in many different contexts in biological research but in its most simple and strict sense, it refers to a precise genetic copy of a molecule, cell, plant, animal, or human being.1 Human cloning has been a largely controversial focus in the area of cloning, mainly, the ethics of cloning. People have differed opinions about the ethics of cloning. Some people think that cloning is not morally right, cloning is erosion of respect for sexuality, and it is against the will of god, fearing what is new and different. Other people think that cloning is beneficial to children, aiding to infertile couples, medically sufficient, and improving to humanity. Public law and policy also comes into play in the ethics of cloning.
Human Cloning does take place naturally to some extent. This is shown when identical twins are conceived. However, the likelihood of this occurrence is limited by chance. Even when identical twins are conceived, they originate from one single zygote that is split during the early stage of pregnancy.
Scientists are able to clone DNA, which is the genetic makeup of a human being. These DNA fragments are enlarged in a host cell. This process makes many scientific experiments possible. This process, often called molecular cloning, is the mainstay of recombinant DNA technology and has led to the production of such important medicines as insulin to treat diabetes, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to dissolve clots after a heart attack, and erythropoietin (EPO) to treat anemia associated with dialysis for kidney disease.2 Another type of cloning is called Incellular cloning. Incellular cloning copies are made of cells derived from the soma, or body, by growing these cells in culture in a laboratory.3 The cloned cells that are made are identical to the original cell. This method is also used for creation of medicines that molecular cloning creates. Since these methods do not involve germ cells, they are not beneficial in producing a baby.
The objectives of blastomere separation and nuclear transplantation cloning, however, are to reproduce genetically identical animals. In blastomere separation, the developing embryo is split very soon after fertilization when it is composed of two to eight cells.4 These individual cells are called blastomeres. The blastomeres are now able to generate new separate organisms. The blastomere?s ability to produce new organisms makes it possible for scientists to split animal embryos into many cells that make genetically identical organisms. This is beneficial to breeding livestock. During the 1980s, cloning animals reached a new level called nuclear transplantation cloning. In nuclear transplantation cloning, the nucleus is removed from an egg and replaced with the
diploid nucleus of a somatic cell.5 This type of cloning differs from sexual reproduction because in sexual reproduction, the egg and sperm combine. In nuclear transplantation cloning, a new organism is created by a single parent.
The scientific advances in cloning raise the issue of ethics. The main concern people have is how far science will go in the development of cloning. Many people believe that if science were to clone humans, many things should come into consideration. There are many positive and negative aspects of cloning.
One positive aspect of human cloning is the duplication of people that have significant value to society, like those who have great talent, or genius. This can be beneficial because people like Einstein, Beethoven, or Franklin who contributed to society may have knowledge that can be useful in the present or in the future. Much of the appeal of this reason, like much support and opposition to human cloning, rests largely on a confused and false assumption of genetic determinism, that is, that one?s genes fully determine what one will become, do, and accomplish.6 Cloning these human beings cannot regenerate the environment they grew up in or their life?s experiences, so the only way this would be beneficial is if nature was the main influence of intelligence instead of nurture.
Another positive aspect of human cloning is that it can enable a person to recreate someone with significant meaning, like a child that has died. This can only be beneficial
to a limited extent, because similarly to cloning someone such as Einstein, only the genes are recreated, not the original person?s personality or life experiences. Cloning the lost child might help the parents accept and move on from their loss, but another already existing sibling or a new child that was not a clone might do this equally well; indeed, it might do so better since the appearance of the cloned later twin would be a constant reminder of the child they had lost.7 In contrast, if cloning a lost child would be the only way for parents to cope, then the option should be available to them.
Cloning to make an identical being would enable a person to have organs available that may be needed for transplant. Having a clone would be a benefit to the risks that one may have when in need for an organ. This includes the risk of rejection of the organ, the risk of not being able to find an appropriate blood donor, and the risk of not being able to find an organ for the transplant. This advantage of cloning is also limited, because if a clone were to have a vital organ removed from its body, it would be violating the clone?s rights. Also, the clone would not be able to survive without vital organs.
With all of these positive aspects in consideration, being limited in their advantages, there are also many negative aspects to human cloning. One of the most important things to consider is the psychological affects the clone will most likely experience. The clone will not have the experiences of growing up like the original human being. The clone?s life would start from the day it was cloned, not from infancy or from the mother?s womb like the original human being.