Clowns Or Clones Essay, Research Paper
Clowns or Clones
Cloning is a word heard of only recently within the last 2 or 3 years. Cloning is
said to have proved useful in perfecting genetics among animals as well as humans. While
human cloning is still a little ways off, animal cloning has already begun. Dolly the sheep
was the first to be cloned and then it went on to pigs. Perhaps as we go down this line,
we may someday work our way to cloning humans. Human cloning would only be a real
benefit to our health and could only lead to a prosperous future (Bernan 65). Who is to
say no to a better life?
Imagine a world full of Mini-Hitlers , genetic replicates of Adolf Hitler, seeking
world domination. Picture them starting a second Holocaust on a worldwide scale, killing
millions upon millions of people as a solution to establish a superior race. This scenario
is far-off, but this is the kind of thing people think about when they hear the word
Cloning has always been considered science fiction. Millions of people have
enjoyed stories about a someone using cloning technology to conquer the world, probably
because they hadn t expected cloning to become reality. The creation of Dolly, a cloned
sheep, shocked people, including our federal government. The House of Representatives
and the Senate immediately drafted bills to completely ban human cloning. President
Clinton instituted a moratorium on federal funds for human cloning experiments. He also
established the National Bioethics Advisory Commission(NBAC) to address the science
and ethics of human cloning. It immediately published an article entitled Cloning Human
Beings: Report and Recommendations of the NBAC , which basically said human cloning
is morally unacceptable.
Several states have also established restrictions on human cloning; one state has even
banned human cloning. These government actions are irrational and should be immediately
revoked. The federal government should regulate, not ban, human cloning. This is because
significant benefits can result from cloning technology. The ethical implications are also
only temporary. They are induced by misconception. Besides, fanatic biologists are going
to pursue human cloning technology with or without government consent.
It would be beneficial if I begin by briefly explaining the history of cloning and the
processes involved. Dolly was given birth in February 1997. She was created by Ian
Wilmut and his colleagues at Roslin Institute in Scotland. She was created using a
technique called somatic-cell nuclear transfer . This is where a nucleus-omitted ovum is
injected by a nucleus taken from a body cell. A jolt of electricity allows the reconstructed
egg to divide. The egg is then inserted into a uterus to develop. This is the way the first
human clone will mostly likely be made.
Numerous of remarkable benefits can come from cloning technology. One of these
is a treatment for infertility. Infertility is caused by genetic defects, injuries to the
reproductive organs, congenital defects and exposure to toxic substances and radiation.
Many assisted-reproduction technologies have been developed. This includes surrogate
mothers for women without a functional uterus, intracytoplasmic sperm injection for males
who can t produce viable sperm, and IVF for women with blocked or missing fallopian
tubes. However, these treatments have proven to be highly inefficient and they can t help
people whose reproductive organs have not developed or have been removed. Twelve
million Americans are infertile at child bearing age. They will pursue years of painful and
expensive treatments to have little chance of success. Human cloning can offer infertile
people a higher chance of success. Most people are infertile because they can t produce
viable gametes. Cloning technology wouldn t require viable sperm or egg, any body cell
would do. This technology would be able to bypass defective gametes and allow infertile
people to have their own biological children. Cloning technology may even prevent clinical
depression, divorce, and suicide among infertile people (Bernan 62). This is because
infertility often leads to them.
Cloning technology can help perfect gene therapy, the actual correction or
replacement of defective gene sequences. Gene therapy is currently limited because of
inefficient vectors, or viruses that convey new genes into cells. A copy of a defective gene
is in every cell of the body. These viruses must infect everyone of these cells and replace
the defective genes with the normal genes. However, these vectors only infect a frustrating
small amount of cells. This deems gene therapy inefficient. Human cloning can change this.
Scientists can determine which cells recieved the desired gene alteration using fluorescent
tages; the cells that were affected would glow. Cloning technology would allow scientists
to take a cell that had it s genome modified and use it to produce an offspring. The
resulting child and its descendants would carry the corrected gene in every cell. Cloning
technology may be able cure Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and
Huntington s disease.
Another benefit of human cloning is that it will allow scientists to better
understand cell differentiation. Research on the basic processes of cell differentiation can
lead to dramatic new medical interventions. Cell differentiation is where a stem cell, found
inside embryos during the first two weeks of development, specializes into cells that
perform specific functions. These cells have the potential to develop into any type of cell
in the human body. Biologists do not know which internal/external factors induces a stem
cell to develop into a specialized cell, whether it be a muscle cell or a nerve cell. A better
understanding of cell differentiation will allow biologists to transform stem cell into which
ever cell that he/she desires. Burn and spinal cord injury victims might be provided with
artificially produced replacement tissues. Damage done by degenerative disorders like
diabetes, Parkinson s disease or Alzheimer s disease might be reversed. Biologists might
be able to create organs for transplant using merely a dead skin cell.
Ethical implications involved in human cloning is only temporary. This can be
shown in the development of In Vitro Fertilization(IVF). During the 1960s & 1970s,
opponents of IVF argued that it was unsafe, children would be deformed, American
families would be destroyed or changed, and it was against God s will. These are the same
arguments being used against human cloning. Eighty-five percent of Americans thought
IVF should be outlawed during the 1970s. Public opinion changed when they saw Louie
Brown, the first child born using IVF. People noticed that he was just a child. Their fears
of IVF subsided (Yeast i). It became a routine medical procedure within a few years. This
will most likely be the case with human cloning.
Many of the ethical arguments against human cloning are induced by
misconception. The Mini-Hitler scenario listed above is far-off, but that is exactly the
kind of thing people think about when they hear the word cloning . People think that
cloning technology can produce an exact copy of an existing adult human being. This isn t
true. Cloning technology can only produce a cloned embryo. The embryo must develop in
a uterus. The developed child must experience childhood and adolescence. People think
that a clone will be both behaviorally and physically identical to its donor. This also isn t
true. The clone will probably be identical physically, but not behaviorally. Genes
contribute to the array of our abilities and limits, but our behavior and mentality is
constantly shaped by environmental factors. Even identical twins show differences in
behavioral and mental characteristics(Gasber, 12). Trying to clone a future Adolf Hitler
might instead produce a modestly talented painter.
Ethicists are afraid that a subordinate class of humans will be created as tissue and
organ donors. They are afraid that the rights of these clones will be violated. These fears
are outrageous and ridiculous. These ethicists have been the victims of misconception.
Cloned humans could no more be harvested for their organs than people can be today.
Another ethical dilemma is the psychological well-being of the cloned child. People
wonder what kind of a relationship a cloned child will have with his/her parent that is
physically identical. They are curious of how the child will deal with the pressure of
constantly being compared to an esteemed or beloved person who has already lived
(Gasber 15). We need to remember that the single most important factor affecting the
quality of a child s life is the love and devotion he/she receives from parents, not the
methods our circumstances of the person s birth. Since children produced by cloning will
probably be extremely wanted children, there is no reason to think that with good
counseling support for their parents they will not experience the love and care they
What will life be like for the first generation of cloned children? Being at the center
of scientific and popular attention will not be easy for them. They and their parents will
also have to negotiate the worry-some problems created by genetic identity and
unavoidable expectations. However, there may also be some novel satisfactions. As
cross-generational twins, a cloned child and his/her parent may experience some of the
unique intimacy now shared by sibling twins.
Animal research will eventually indicate that human cloning can be done at no
greater physical risk to the child than IVF posed when it was first introduced. It would be
better if such research would be done openly in the U.S., Canada, Europe or Japan.
Established government agencies could provide careful oversight of the implications of the
studies for human subjects. The most probable way that it will happen will be, if not yet
already, in a clandestine fashion. A couple desperate for a child will put their hopes in the
hands of a researcher seeking fame. Advanced Cell Technologies(ACT) has already
created the first human embryo. They took DNA from a man s leg and injected it into a
cow s egg with its nucleus removed. There has also been reports of similar work in South
Korea (Yeast i). Someone is going to clone a human with or without government
assistance. It would be beneficial if our federal government regulated such experiments,
rather than outlaw them. Outlawing something will not necessarily stop it from happening.
Regulating human cloning will allow our federal government to closely overlook
experiments pertaining to human cloning.
The federal government should regulate human cloning. Banning it would deprieve
many beneficial treatments from people who need it. I have mentioned only a few of
cloning technology s significant benefits. Cloning technology can lead to a better
understanding of cell differentiation. This would allow biologist to produce tissues and
organs for transplant. Cloning can help carriers of genetic defects to have healthy children.
It can even help to completely eradicate genetic mutations and defects. Treatment of
infertility is one of its most promising benefits. Cloning technology can help infertile
people to have their own children, one of life s most powerful biological drives. Besides,
ethical implications involved in human cloning are only temporary. They are induced by
misconception. Education will change people s negative attitude towards human cloning.
If we give human cloning a chance, it will most likely become a part of our daily lives.