Cloning 4 Essay, Research Paper
Human embryo cloning should not be done because of the religious, moral, ethical, and social concerns that it places upon the human race. Although there may be some positive affects to cloning humans, there are far too many opposing factors in this situation. Many religious leaders of expressed their concern and condemnation of human cloning. The moral and ethical aspects outweigh any scientific evidence, and the social concerns are frightening. The most important question that needs to be asked, is whether the gains out weigh the losses–the gains being scientific research and the losses being the religious, moral, ethical, and social concerns that it poses on today s society. A clone, as defined in The Human Genome Project, is; 1. a population of genetically identical unicellular organisms or viruses arising from successive replications of a single ancestral unicellular organism or virus. 2. a recombinant clone. 3. the fragment of foreign DNA contained in each member of a recombinant clone. 4. a population of identical cells arising from the culture of a single cell of a certain type, such as a human fibroblast or a rodent-human hybrid cell containing a full set of rodent chromosomes and a single human chromosome. Human embryo cloning starts with a standard in vitro fertilization procedure. Sperm and an egg cell are mixed together on a glass dish. After conception, the zygote (fertilized egg) is allowed to develop into a blastula (a hollow mass of cells). The zygote divides first into two cells, then four, then eight… A chemical is added to the dish to remove the zona pellucida covering; this material provides nutrients to the cells to promote cell division. With the covering removed, the blastula is divided into individual cells which are deposited on individual dishes. They are then coated with an artificial zona pellucida and allowed to divide and develop. That is how a human embryo clone is made using the twinning method. Some scientists believe that human embryo cloning and related research can have some positive results, however, many religious leaders feel that cloning and related research should not be permitted. Religion and science have been involved in an ongoing battle over many subjects in the past, but human embryo cloning has caused the biggest debate thus far. Many religious philosophies teach that human life is unique and special and should be created, determined and controlled only by their deities. Many religions believe in the existence of, and in the individuality of, a human soul. Some people, particularly Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics believe that a soul enters the body at the instant of conception, and the fertilized ovum is in fact a human being. Dividing that baby in half would interfere with God s intent. And the many cloned zygotes that died after a few cell divisions would be lost human beings; their loss is considered as serious as the death of a new born baby. These same conservative Christians would also be distressed at the use of cloning to weed out genetically defective fertilized ovums. The procedure would result in the killing of one of the clones during the genetic testing. Since they regard all of the clones as separate human beings, this would be murder. The Church of Scotland has extensively studied aspects of cloning. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has passed a motion to reaffirm their belief in the basic dignity and uniqueness of each human being under God. They express the strongest possible opposition to the cloning of human beings and urge to press for a comprehensive international treaty to ban it worldwide. Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington DC, leads a coalition of 300 religious and ethics organizations from around the world. He proposes a worldwide ban on cloning, saying it should carry a penalty on a par with rape, child abuse, and murder. Aside from the religious aspect, human cloning has brought up many moral and ethical questions. The National Institute of Health set up a medical panel to form a preliminary set of guidelines to help bridge the gap between scientists and society. They recommend that research be permitted on preexisting embryos. The embryos would be allowed to develop up to and including the fourteenth day. The panel suggested that the research be permitted after the fourteenth day of development depending on the circumstances, but definitely not after the eighteenth day , when the neural tube closure begins. The neural tube is the beginning of the nervous system, including the brain in adult humans. The experiments that the panel recommended to be banned include impregnating human embryos in other animal species, impregnating cloned embryos into humans, the use of embryos for sex selection, or the transfer of one nucleus from one embryo to another. Some individuals have expressed social concerns about cloning. We live in a society where people are willing to do all kinds of things for money. A type of black market for embryos could easily develop. Parents already spend a great deal of money on in vitro fertilization, who knows how much they would be willing to pay for cloning their children? Shannon Brownlee of US News & World Report claims, A bizarre possibility to consider is that a woman conceived from a split embryo could give birth to her own twin. This possibility only begins the crazy affects that cloning can have on society. What would one think if they were walking down the street and they saw a mother and her children walking side by side and they were identical looking just of different ages. Just think, how would you explain the concept of cloning to your children? What if a country were to finance a program similar to that of Nazi Germany whereby humans were bed to maximize certain traits. Once the perfect human was developed, embryo cloning could be used to replicate that individual and conceivably produce unlimited numbers of clones. The same approach could be used to create a genetic underclass for exploitation: e.g. individuals with sub-normal intelligence and above normal strength. Richard Seed, a physicist from Illinois, is attempting to establish a human cloning clinic. He claimed on January 7, 1998 that he was 90% complete in hiring a team of experts to attempt the cloning of a human being, following the experiments of Dolly. If successful, the resultant child would have identical DNA to one of its parents. Louise Brown, a fertility expert who helped produce the first test-tube baby in 1978 said, My first reaction is that here is somebody trying to make a quick buck off of self-advertising, because of course there is no way you could make a clone a human being safely at this point. I think the man is clearly unhinged and I don t think he is to be taken seriously. Marion Bamewood, a member of the board of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine said, I have very serious reservations about cloning human beings. The society has declared a 5 year voluntary ban on cloning humans. Mr. Seed responded, I can t really answer the critics who think it s a bad idea. They ll never be persuaded. As far a I m concerned, they have rather small minds and a rather small view of the world and a rather small view of God. In a 1997 CNN poll conducted among 1005 American adults has a margin of error of 3%. They found: 89% felt that cloning humans was morally unacceptable 66% felt that cloning animals was morally unacceptable 69% is scared of the possibility of cloning humans 74% believe that human cloning is against God s will, 19% say that it is not. Not all of the effects of human cloning are negative. For instance, cloning could produce a reservoir of spare parts . Fertilized ovum s could be cloned into multiple zygotes; one could be implanted in the woman and allowed to develop into a normal baby; the other zygotes could be frozen for future use. The question is, is the second twin obligated to give up a part of his body for his earlier twin? And what if the second twin has the same missing spare part ? In the event that the child require a bone marrow transplant, one of the zygotes could be taken out of storage, implanted, allowed to mature to a baby and then contribute some of its spare bone marrow to its (earlier) identical twin. The question here is, What if the second twin also has defective bone marrow, are both the twins to die? Also, cloning using the DNA from the cell of an adult with the desired traits or talents might produce an infant with similar potential. Although there are some positive effects of human cloning, the religious, moral, ethical, and social concerns far outweigh those of scientific evidence. We live in a highly intelligent and very sensitive society. The possible harm that cloning could cause must never be overlooked.