Cloning Essay, Research Paper
As science and technology go full steam ahead into this, the 21st century, we must take a step back and look at all of the moral and ethical aspects of the science that we are developing. The topic raised is whether or not cloning is an acceptable development to be taken advantage of whenever technology reaches the point where cloning is an every day occurrence. In my view, the answer is yes. I will discuss some of the history of cloning and a great deal of what science will be able to do with this technology once it is better understood. There can be many great uses for this, such as organ transplants and as a means of reproduction for those who are not able to reproduce on their own. I hope that by the end of this paper, you too will agree with my point of view.
Let s start by answering the first question that comes to mind; what does cloning mean? In Mosby s Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary, cloning is defined as a procedure for producing multiple copies of genetically identical organisms or of individual genes (1E3C). This can mean an array of different objects. It can possibly mean cloning an entirely new organism from an older one, or perhaps just reproducing a heart or another organ. People have been entertaining the concept of cloning individuals for centuries. They noticed that when you cut an earthworm in half, each half will regenerate into a new worm, but technically they will be the same genetically. As time passed, people did not lose interest in this fascinating idea of cloning a vertebrate in the same way as a worm. In the 1950s, scientists started doing a great deal of work on frogs, and they were able to produce tadpoles by use of nuclear transplantation. Hans Spemann, who was a German scientist, had first presented this idea in 1938. In nuclear transplantation, you remove the nucleus from an egg cell of an organism. Then you take the body cell of another organism of the same species and implant that in place of the egg s missing nucleus. This will create a new organism with the same genetic DNA as the organism of which the body cell was removed. In the 1960s and 1970s many more experiments were done with this procedure, and by the early 1990s scientists had been able to clone mice, cows, pigs, rabbits, and sheep (World Book). In 1996, however, scientist Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Scotland shocked the world when he was successfully able to produce Dolly, the now famous cloned sheep. Unfortunately, she didn t live long, as there were many obstacles in her development. Since then, there have been numerous advances in the cloning technique. Soon, they will be able to overcome the difficulties in Dolly s case, which can eventually lead to an almost endless range of possibilities (Cosh 45).
Other than creating photocopies of us, the science used in the cloning procedure can be used for so many useful things. The first item discussed is the possibility of using cloning procedures to be able to transplant organs from an animal, such as a pig, into a human being. In fact, the barnyard pig is an animal whose organs are roughly the same size and perform the same functions as those of human beings. This year scientists in the United States and Japan have been able to produce six new piglets through a newer process of cloning (Nichols 38). In Blacksburg, Virginia, these scientists were able to clone five of the piglets, whereas the sixth was born in Japan. Using these cloning techniques we may be able to move closer and closer to the idea of molecular medicine (Butcher 657). Using this technology, we have a great deal of possibilities on how to improve modern medicine by being able to use it for transplants. Both Nichols and Butcher hope to some day be able to use pigs to grow organs, which could be transplanted in humans. Anthony Perry, who is an author of many papers dealing with this subject, hopes that someday every hospital will be able to have a yard of altered pigs which will be able to meet the demand of organs as they are needed (qtd. in Butcher 35). There are at least 180,000 people worldwide waiting for organs to become available to be transplanted. These people are in serious need of organs, and using this technology, hopefully we will someday be able to eliminate this problem using animals as our organ donors (Nichols 38). Many people would be very open to the possibility of getting a new organ from an animal with minimal chance of rejection if they were faced with the problem of organ failure. Whether it was a damaged liver from drinking too much, damaged lungs from smoking, or a defected heart from birth, technology will soon be able to solve these problems using techniques that are just now being developed. Also, since the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic has been a major factor in the way that people use their promiscuity. Some believe that someday we may be able to clone the antibodies in the monkeys that are immune to this disease, and create a way to cure this fatal disease.
Another use for this wonderful technology is the possibility of giving adults children that are biologically related to them. Ronald Green gives the example of a couple who is unable to have children, so they would like to turn to cloning to give them two children who would be biologically related to them. He believes, as I do, that this would be a great option for those unable to conceive. He argues that although the children would retain the same genetic material as the parents or cell donor, they wouldn t necessarily be the exact same. Identical twins are, in a sense, natural clones of each other, but they aren t carbon copies. While they may possess similar physical traits, they do not have the same personalities. No one doubts that genes make up a great deal of our psychological and physical natures, but our environment also has a great deal to do with making us who we are. Therefore, even though the clone would have the same genetic material, its environment would play a big part in shaping who it becomes as a person (Green 51). This technology may also be very wonderful to people like Jonathan Colvin. He believes that some people s negative view on cloning can be blamed on poor science fiction movies and books. He suffers from a genetic disorder called cystic fibrosis. This disease is inherited, and it prevents those who suffer with it from having any offspring. In his article, Colvin says that his dream is to clone myself, repair my clone s genetic defect, and give him the opportunity to fulfill the potential that had been denied to me by a cruel quirk of nature (39). This would give people the chance to not only have children, but to preserve themselves for future generations. Most people deal with their own mortalities by having children. This gives them the sense that at least a part of them will live on forever. In the same way, cloning would give that gift to those who aren t fortunate enough to have been born with it.
With the scientific world creating new and wonderful things almost everyday, those of us who live long enough may be able to see, among other things, an end to infertility, a decrease in several genetic and non-genetic diseases, and hopefully an elimination of the wait for an organ transplant. We have a lot to gain through science, and I would certainly propose the further study of this. I would also support any politician who would lift the ban on experimenting with human cells in the cloning process, once this technology has been better improved. Maybe through this technology we will someday be able to give Mr. Colvin his gift of immortality.