Cloning Essay Research Paper Before we assume

Cloning Essay, Research Paper Before we assume that the market for human clones consists mainly of narcissists who think the world deserves more of them or neo-Nazis who dream of cloning Hitler or crackpots and mavericks and mischief makers of all kinds, it is worth taking a tour of the marketplace. We might just meet ourselves there.

Cloning Essay, Research Paper

Before we assume that the market for human clones consists mainly of narcissists who think the world deserves more of them or neo-Nazis who dream of cloning Hitler or crackpots and mavericks and mischief makers of all kinds, it is worth taking a tour of the marketplace. We might just meet ourselves there.

Imagine for a moment that your daughter needs a bone-marrow transplant and no one can provide a match; that your wife’s early menopause has made her infertile; or that your five-year-old has drowned in a lake and your grief has made it impossible to get your mind around the fact that he is gone forever. Would the news then really be so easy to dismiss that around the world, there are scientists in labs pressing ahead with plans to duplicate a human being, deploying the same technology that allowed Scottish scientists to clone Dolly the sheep four years ago?

All it took was that first headline about the astonishing ewe, and fertility experts began to hear the questions every day. Our two-year-old daughter died in a car crash; we saved a lock of her hair in a baby book. Can you clone her? Why does the law allow people more freedom to destroy fetuses than to create them? My husband had cancer and is sterile. Can you help us?

The inquiries are pouring in because some scientists are ever more willing to say yes, perhaps we can. Last month a well-known infertility specialist, Panayiotis Zavos of the University of Kentucky, announced that he and Italian researcher Severino Antinori, the man who almost seven years ago helped a 62-year-old woman give birth using donor eggs, were forming a consortium to produce the first human clone. Researchers in South Korea claim they have already created a cloned human embryo, though they destroyed it rather than implanting it in a surrogate mother to develop. Recent cover stories in Wired and the New York Times Magazine tracked the efforts of the Raelians, a religious group committed to, among other things, welcoming the first extraterrestrials when they appear. They intend to clone the cells of a dead 10-month-old boy whose devastated parents hope, in effect, to bring him back to life as a newborn. The Raelians say they have the lab and the scientists, and–most important, considering the amount of trial and error involved–they say they have 50 women lined up to act as surrogates to carry a cloned baby to term.

Given what researchers have learned since Dolly, no one thinks the mechanics of cloning are very hard: take a donor egg, suck out the nucleus, and hence the DNA, and fuse it with, say, a skin cell from the human being copied. Then, with the help of an electrical current, the reconstituted cell should begin growing into a genetic duplicate. “It’s inevitable that someone will try and someone will succeed,” predicts Delores Lamb, an infertility expert at Baylor University. The consensus among biotechnology specialists is that within a few years–some scientists believe a few months–the news will break of the birth of the first human clone.

At that moment, at least two things will happen–one private, one public. The meaning of what it is to be human–which until now has involved, at the very least, the mysterious melding of two different people’s DNA–will shift forever, along with our understanding of the relationship between parents and children, means and ends, ends and beginnings. And as a result, the conversation that has occupied scientists and ethicists for years, about how much man should mess with nature when it comes to reproduction, will drop onto every kitchen table, every pulpit, every politician’s desk. Our fierce national debate over issues like abortion and euthanasia will seem tame and transparent compared with the questions that human cloning raises.

That has many scientists scared to death. Because even if all these headlines are hype and we are actually far away from seeing the first human clone, the very fact that at this moment, the research is proceeding underground, unaccountable, poses a real threat. The risk lies not just with potential babies born deformed, as many animal clones are; not just with desperate couples and cancer patients and other potential “clients” whose hopes may be raised and hearts broken and life savings wiped out. The immediate risk is that a backlash against renegade science might strike at responsible science as well.

The more scared people are of some of this research, scientists worry, the less likely they are to tolerate any of it. Yet variations on cloning technology are already used in biotechnology labs all across the country. It is these techniques that will allow, among other things, the creation of cloned herds of sheep and cows that produce medicines in their milk. Researchers also hope that one day, the ability to clone adult human cells will make it possible to “grow” new hearts and livers and nerve cells.

But some of the same techniques could also be used to grow a baby. Trying to block one line of research could impede another and so reduce the chances of finding cures for ailments such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, cancer and heart disease. Were some shocking breakthrough in human cloning to cause “an overcompensatory response by legislators,” says Rockefeller University cloning expert Tony Perry, “that could be disastrous. At some point, it will potentially cost lives.” So we are left with choices and trade-offs and a need to think through whether it is this technology that alarms us or just certain ways of using it.

By day, Randolfe Wicker, 63, runs a lighting shop in New York City. But in his spare time, as spokesman for the Human Cloning Foundation, he is the face of cloning fervor in the U.S. “I took one step in this adventure, and it took over me like quicksand,” says Wicker. He is planning to have some of his skin cells stored for future cloning. “If I’m not cloned before I die, my estate will be set up so that I can be cloned after,” he says, admitting, however, that he hasn’t found a lawyer willing to help. “It’s hard to write a will with all these uncertainties,” he concedes. “A lot of lawyers will look at me crazy.”

As a gay man, Wicker has long been frustrated that he cannot readily have children of his own; as he gets older, his desire to reproduce grows stronger. He knows that a clone would not be a photocopy of him but talks about the traits the boy might possess: “He will like the color blue, Middle Eastern food and romantic Spanish music that’s out of fashion.” And then he hints at the heart of his motive. “I can thumb my nose at Mr. Death and say, ‘You might get me, but you’re not going to get all of me,’” he says. “The special formula that is me will live on into another lifetime. It’s a partial triumph over death. I would leave my imprint not in sand but in cement.”

This kind of talk makes ethicists conclude that even people who think they know about cloning–let alone the rest of us–don’t fully understand its implications. Cloning, notes ethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania, “can’t make you immortal because clearly the clone is a different person. If I take twins and shoot one of them, it will be faint consolation to the dead one that the other one is still running around, even though they are genetically identical. So the road to immortality is not through cloning.”

Still, cloning is the kind of issue so confounding that you envy the purists at either end of the argument. For the Roman Catholic Church, the entire question is one of world view: whether life is a gift of love or just one more industrial product, a little more valuable than most. Those who believe that the soul enters the body at the moment of conception think it is fine for God to make clones; he does it about 4,000 times a day, when a fertilized egg splits into identical twins. But when it comes to massaging a human life, for the scientist to do mechanically what God does naturally is to interfere with his work, and no possible benefit can justify that presumption.

On the other end of the argument are the libertarians who don’t like politicians or clerics or ethics boards interfering with what they believe should be purely individual decisions. Reproduction is a most fateful lottery; in their view, cloning allows you to hedge your bet. While grieving parents may be confused about the technology–cloning, even if it works, is not resurrection–their motives are their own business. As for infertile couples, “we are interested in giving people the gift of life,” Zavos, the aspiring cloner, told TIME this week. “Ethics is a wonderful word, but we need to look beyond the ethical issues here. It’s not an ethical issue. It’s a medical issue. We have a duty here. Some people need this to complete the life cycle, to reproduce.”

In the messy middle are the vast majority of people who view the prospect with a vague alarm, an uneasy sense that science is dragging us into dark woods with no paths and no easy way to turn back. Ian Wilmut, the scientist who cloned Dolly but has come out publicly against human cloning, was not trying to help sheep have genetically related children. “He was trying to help farmers produce genetically improved sheep,” notes Hastings Center ethicist Erik Parens. “And surely that’s how the technology will go with us too.” Cloning, Parens says, “is not simply this isolated technique out there that a few deluded folks are going to avail themselves of, whether they think it is a key to immortality or a way to bring someone back from the dead. It’s part of a much bigger project. Essentially the big-picture question is, To what extent do we want to go down the path of using reproductive technologies to genetically shape our children?”

At the moment, the American public is plainly not ready to move quickly on cloning. In a TIME/CNN poll last week, 90% of respondents thought it was a bad idea to clone human beings. “Cloning right now looks like it’s coming to us on a magic carpet, piloted by a cult leader, sold to whoever can afford it,” says ethicist Caplan. “That makes people nervous.”

And it helps explain why so much of the research is being done secretly. We may learn of the first human clone only months, even years, after he or she is born–if the event hasn’t happened already, as some scientists speculate. The team that cloned Dolly waited until she was seven months old to announce her existence. Creating her took 277 tries, and right up until her birth, scientists around the world were saying that cloning a mammal from an adult cell was impossible. “There’s a significant gap between what scientists are willing to talk about in public and their private aspirations,” says British futurist Patrick Dixon. “The law of genetics is that the work is always significantly further ahead than the news. In the digital world, everything is hyped because there are no moral issues–there is just media excitement. Gene technology creates so many ethical issues that scientists are scared stiff of a public reaction if the end results of their research are known.”

Of course, attitudes often change over time. In-vitro fertilization was effectively illegal in many states 20 years ago, and the idea of transplanting a heart was once considered horrifying. Public opinion on cloning will evolve just as it did on these issues, advocates predict. But in the meantime, the crusaders are mostly driven underground. Princeton biologist Lee Silver says fertility specialists have told him that they have no problem with cloning and would be happy to provide it as a service to their clients who could afford it. But these same specialists would never tell inquiring reporters that, Silver says–it’s too hot a topic right now. “I think what’s happened is that all the mainstream doctors have taken a hands-off approach because of this huge public outcry. But I think what they are hoping is that some fringe group will pioneer it and that it will slowly come into the mainstream and then they will be able to provide it to their patients.”

All it will take, some predict, is that first snapshot. “Once you have a picture of a normal baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes, that changes everything,” says San Mateo, Calif., attorney and cloning advocate Mark Eibert, who gets inquiries from infertile couples every day. “Once they put a child in front of the cameras, they’ve won.” On the other hand, notes Gregory Pence, a professor of philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and author of Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning?, “if the first baby is defective, cloning will be banned for the next 100 years.”

“I wouldn’t mind being the first person cloned if it were free. I don’t mind being a guinea pig,” says Doug Dorner, 35. He and his wife Nancy both work in health care. “We’re not afraid of technology,” he says. Dorner has known since he was 16 that he would never be able to have children the old-fashioned way. A battle with lymphoma left him sterile, so when he and Nancy started thinking of having children, he began following the scientific developments in cloning more closely. The more he read, the more excited he got. “Technology saved my life when I was 16,” he says, but at the cost of his fertility. “I think technology should help me have a kid. That’s a fair trade.”

Talk to the Dorners, and you get a glimpse of choices that most parents can scarcely imagine having to make. Which parent, for instance, would they want to clone? Nancy feels she would be bonded to the child just from carrying him, so why not let the child have Doug’s genetic material? Does it bother her to know she would, in effect, be raising her husband as a little boy? “It wouldn’t be that different. He already acts like a five-year-old sometimes,” she says with a laugh.

How do they imagine raising a cloned child, given the knowledge they would have going in? “I’d know exactly what his basic drives were,” says Doug. The boy’s dreams and aspirations, however, would be his own, Doug insists. “I used to dream of being a fighter pilot,” he recalls, a dream lost when he got cancer. While they are at it, why not clone Doug twice? “Hmm. Two of the same kid,” Doug ponders. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. But I know we’d never clone our clone to have a second child. Once you start copying something, who knows what the next copies will be like?”

In fact the risks involved with cloning mammals are so great that Wilmut, the premier cloner, calls it “criminally irresponsible” for scientists to be experimenting on humans today. Even after four years of practice with animal cloning, the failure rate is still overwhelming: 98% of embryos never implant or die off during gestation or soon after birth. Animals that survive can be nearly twice as big at birth as is normal, or have extra-large organs or heart trouble or poor immune systems. Dolly’s “mother” was six years old when she was cloned. That may explain why Dolly’s cells show signs of being older than they actually are–scientists joked that she was really a sheep in lamb’s clothing. This deviation raises the possibility that beings created by cloning adults will age abnormally fast.

We had a cloned sheep born just before Christmas that was clearly not normal,” says Wilmut. “We hoped for a few days it would improve and then, out of kindness, we euthanized it, because it obviously would never be healthy.” Wilmut believes “it is almost a certainty” that cloned human children would be born with similar maladies. Of course, we don’t euthanize babies. But these kids would probably die very prematurely anyway. Wilmut pauses to consider the genie he has released with Dolly and the hopes he has raised. “It seems such a profound irony,” he says, “that in trying to make a copy of a child who has died tragically, one of the most likely outcomes is another dead child.”

That does not seem to deter the scientists who work on the Clonaid project run by the Raelian sect. They say they are willing to try to clone a dead child. Though their outfit is easy to mock, they may be even further along than the competition, in part because they have an advantage over other teams. A formidable obstacle to human cloning is that donor eggs are a rare commodity, as are potential surrogate mothers, and the Raelians claim to have a supply of both.

Earlier this month, according to Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid’s scientific director, somewhere in North America, a young woman walked into a Clonaid laboratory whose location is kept secret. Then, in a procedure that has been done thousands of times, a doctor inserted a probe, removed 15 eggs from the woman’s ovaries and placed them in a chemical soup. Last week two other Clonaid scientists, according to the group, practiced the delicate art of removing the genetic material from each of the woman’s eggs. Within the next few weeks, the Raelian scientific team plans to place another cell next to the enucleated egg.

This second cell, they say, comes from a 10-month-old boy who died during surgery. The two cells will be hit with an electrical charge, according to the scenario, and will fuse, forming a new hybrid cell that no longer has the genes of the young woman but now has the genes of the dead child. Once the single cell has developed into six to eight cells, the next step is to follow the existing, standard technology of assisted reproduction: gingerly insert the embryo into a woman’s womb and hope it implants. Clonaid scientists expect to have implanted the first cloned human embryo in a surrogate mother by next month.

Even if the technology is basic, and even if it appeals to some infertile couples, should grieving parents really be pursuing this route? “It’s a sign of our growing despotism over the next generation,” argues University of Chicago bioethicist Leon Kass. Cloning introduces the possibility of parents’ making choices for their children far more fundamental than whether to give them piano lessons or straighten their teeth. “It’s not just that parents will have particular hopes for these children,” says Kass. “They will have expectations based on a life that has already been lived. What a thing to do–to carry on the life of a person who has died.”

The libertarians are ready with their answers. “I think we’re hypercritical about people’s reasons for having children,” says Pence. “If they want to re-create their dead children, so what?” People have always had self-serving reasons for having children, he argues, whether to ensure there’s someone to care for them in their old age or to relive their youth vicariously. Cloning is just another reproductive tool; the fact that it is not a perfect tool, in Pence’s view, should not mean it should be outlawed altogether. “We know there are millions of girls who smoke and drink during pregnancy, and we know what the risks to the fetus are, but we don’t do anything about it,” he notes. “If we’re going to regulate cloning, maybe we should regulate that too.”

Olga Tomusyak was two weeks shy of her seventh birthday when she fell out of the window of her family’s apartment. Her parents could barely speak for a week after she died. “Life is empty without her,” says her mother Tanya, a computer programmer in Sydney, Australia. “Other parents we have talked to who have lost children say it will never go away.” Olga’s parents cremated the child before thinking of the cloning option. All that remains are their memories, some strands of hair and three baby teeth, so they have begun investigating whether the teeth could yield the nuclei to clone her one day. While it is theoretically possible to extract DNA from the teeth, scientists say it is extremely unlikely.

“You can’t expect the new baby will be exactly like her. We know that is not possible,” says Tanya. “We think of the clone as her twin or at least a baby who will look like her.” The parents would consider the new little girl as much Olga’s baby as their own. “Anything that grows from her will remind us of her,” says Tanya. Though she and her husband are young enough to have other children, for now, this is the child they want.

Once parents begin to entertain the option of holding on to some part of a child, why would the reverse not be true? “Bill” is a guidance counselor in Southern California, a fortysomething expectant father who has been learning everything he can about the process of cloning. But it is not a lost child he is looking to replicate. He is interested in cloning his mother, who is dying of pancreatic cancer. He has talked to her husband, his siblings, everyone except her doctor–and her, for fear that it will make her think they have given up hope on her. He confides, “We might end up making a decision without telling her.”

His goal is to extract a tissue specimen from his mother while it’s still possible and store it, to await the day when–if–cloning becomes technically safe and socially acceptable. Late last week, as his mother’s health weakened, the family began considering bringing up the subject with her because they need her cooperation to take the sample. Meanwhile, Bill has already contacted two labs about tissue storage, one as a backup. “I’m in touch with a couple of different people who might be doing that,” he says, adding that both are in the U.S. “It seems like a little bit of an underground movement, you know–people are a little reluctant that if they announce it, they might be targeted, like the abortion clinics.”

If Bill’s hopes were to materialize and the clone were born, who would that person be? “It wouldn’t be my mother but a person who would be very similar to my mother, with certain traits. She has a lot of great traits: compassion and intelligence and looks,” he says. And yet, perhaps inevitably, he talks as though this is a way to rewind and replay the life of someone he loves. “She really didn’t have the opportunities we had in the baby-boom generation, because her parents experienced the Depression and the war,” he says. “So the feeling is that maybe we could give her some opportunities that she didn’t have. It would be sort of like we’re taking care of her now. You know how when your parents age and everything shifts, you start taking care of them? Well, this would be an extension of that.”

A world in which cloning is commonplace confounds every human relationship, often in ways most potential clients haven’t considered. For instance, if a woman gives birth to her own clone, is the child her daughter or her sister? Or, says bioethicist Kass, “let’s say the child grows up to be the spitting image of its mother. What impact will that have on the relationship between the father and his child if that child looks exactly like the woman he fell in love with?” Or, he continues, “let’s say the parents have a cloned son and then get divorced. How will the mother feel about seeing a copy of the person she hates most in the world every day? Everyone thinks about cloning from the point of view of the parents. No one looks at it from the point of view of the clone.”

If infertile couples avoid the complications of choosing which of them to clone and instead look elsewhere for their DNA, what sorts of values govern that choice? Do they pick an uncle because he’s musical, a willing neighbor because she’s brilliant? Through that door lies the whole unsettling debate about designer babies, fueled already by the commercial sperm banks that promise genius DNA to prospective parents. Sperm banks give you a shot at passing along certain traits; cloning all but assures it.

Whatever the moral quandaries, the one-stop-shopping aspect of cloning is a plus to many gay couples. Lesbians would have the chance to give birth with no male involved at all; one woman could contribute the ovum, the other the DNA. Christine DeShazo and her partner Michele Thomas of Miramar, Fla., have been in touch with Zavos about producing a baby this way. Because they have already been ostracized as homosexuals, they aren’t worried about the added social sting that would come with cloning. “Now [people] would say, ‘Not only are you a lesbian, you are a cloning lesbian,’” says Thomas. As for potential health problems, “I would love our baby if its hand was attached to its head,” she says. DeShazo adds, “If it came out green, I would love it. Our little alien…”

Just as women have long been able to have children without a male sexual partner, through artificial insemination, men could potentially become dads alone: replace the DNA from a donor egg with one’s own and then recruit a surrogate mother to carry the child. Some gay-rights advocates even argue that should sexual preference prove to have a biological basis, and should genetic screening lead to terminations of gay embryos, homosexuals would have an obligation to produce gay children through cloning.

All sorts of people might be attracted to the idea of the ultimate experiment in single parenthood. Jack Barker, a marketing specialist for a corporate-relocation company in Minneapolis, is 36 and happily unmarried. “I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need a partner but can still have a child,” he says. “And a clone would be the perfect child to have because I know exactly what I’m getting.” He understands that the child would not be a copy of him. “We’d be genetically identical,” says Barker. “But he wouldn’t be raised by my parents–he’d be raised by me.” Cloning, he hopes, might even let him improve on the original: “I have bad allergies and asthma. It would be nice to have a kid like you but with those improvements.”

Cloning advocates view the possibilities as a kind of liberation from travails assumed to be part of life: the danger that your baby will be born with a disease that will kill him or her, the risk that you may one day need a replacement organ and die waiting for it, the helplessness you feel when confronted with unbearable loss. The challenge facing cloning pioneers is to make the case convincingly that the technology itself is not immoral, however immorally it could be used.

One obvious way is to point to the broader benefits. Thus cloning proponents like to attach themselves to the whole arena of stem-cell research, the brave new world of inquiry into how the wonderfully pliable cells of seven-day-old embryos behave. Embryonic stem cells eventually turn into every kind of tissue, including brain, muscle, nerve and blood. If scientists could harness their powers, these cells could serve as the body’s self-repair kit, providing cures for Parkinson’s, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and paralysis. Actors Christopher Reeve, paralyzed by a fall from a horse, and Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s, are among those who have pushed Congress to overturn the government’s restrictions on federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research.

But if the cloners want to climb on this train in hopes of riding it to a public relations victory, the mainstream scientists want to push them off. Because researchers see the potential benefits of understanding embryonic stem cells as immense, they are intent on avoiding controversy over their use. Being linked with the human-cloning activists is their nightmare. Says Michael West, president of Massachusetts-based Advanced Cell Technology, a biotech company that uses cloning technology to develop human medicines: “We’re really concerned that if someone goes off and clones a Raelian, there could be an overreaction to this craziness–especially by regulators and Congress. We’re desperately concerned–and it’s a bad metaphor–about throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

Scientists at ACT are leery of revealing too much about their animal-cloning research, much less their work on human embryos. “What we’re doing is the first step toward cloning a human being, but we’re not cloning a human being,” says West. “The miracle of cloning isn’t what people think it is. Cloning allows you to make a genetically identical copy of an animal, yes, but in the eyes of a biologist, the real miracle is seeing a skin cell being put back into the egg cell, taking it back in time to when it was an undifferentiated cell, which then can turn into any cell in the body.” Which means that new, pristine tissue could be grown in labs to replace damaged or diseased parts of the body. And since these replacement parts would be produced using skin or other cells from the suffering patient, there would be no risk of rejection. “That means you’ve solved the age-old problem of transplantation,” says West. “It’s huge.”

So far, the main source of embryonic stem cells is “leftover” embryos from IVF clinics; cloning embryos could provide an almost unlimited source. Progress could come even faster if Congress were to lift the restrictions on federal funding–which might have the added safety benefit of the federal oversight that comes with federal dollars. “We’re concerned about George W.’s position and whether he’ll let existing guidelines stay in place,” says West. “People are begging to work on those cells.”

That impulse is enough to put the Roman Catholic Church in full revolt; the Vatican has long condemned any research that involves creating and experimenting with human embryos, the vast majority of which inevitably perish. The church believes that the soul is created at the moment of conception, and that the embryo is worthy of protection. It reportedly took 104 attempts before the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born; cloning Dolly took more than twice that. Imagine, say opponents, how many embryos would be lost in the effort to clone a human. This loss is mass murder, says David Byers, director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ commission on science and human values. “Each of the embryos is a human being simply by dint of its genetic makeup.”

Last week 160 bishops and five Cardinals met for three days behind closed doors in Irving, Texas, to wrestle with the issues biotechnology presents. But the cloning debate does not break cleanly even along religious lines. “Rebecca,” a thirtysomething San Francisco Bay Area resident, spent seven years trying to conceive a child with her husband. Having “been to hell and back” with IVF treatment, Rebecca is now as thoroughly committed to cloning as she is to Christianity. “It’s in the Bible–be fruitful and multiply,” she says. “People say, ‘You’re playing God.’ But we’re not. We’re using the raw materials the good Lord gave us. What does the doctor do when the heart has stopped? They have to do direct massage of the heart. You could say the doctor is playing God. But we save a life. With human cloning, we’re not so much saving a life as creating a new being by manipulation of the raw materials, DNA, the blueprint for life. You’re simply using it in a more creative manner.”

A field where emotions run so strong and hope runs so deep is fertile ground for profiteers and charlatans. In her effort to clone her daughter Olga, Tanya Tomusyak contacted an Australian firm, Southern Cross Genetics, which was founded three years ago by entrepreneur Graeme Sloan to preserve DNA for future cloning. In an e-mail, Sloan told the parents that Olga’s teeth would provide more than enough DNA–even though that possibility is remote. “All DNA samples are placed into computer-controlled liquid-nitrogen tanks for long-term storage,” he wrote. “The cost of doing a DNA fingerprint and genetic profile and placing the sample into storage would be $2,500. Please note that all of our fees are in U.S. dollars.”

When contacted by TIME, Sloan admitted, “I don’t have a scientific background. I’m pure business. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t here to make a dollar out of it. But I would like to see organ cloning become a reality.” He was inspired to launch the business, he says, after a young cousin died of leukemia. “There’s megadollars involved, and everyone is racing to be the first,” he says. As for his own slice of the pie, Sloan says he just sold his firm to a French company, which he refuses to name, and he was heading for Hawaii last week. The Southern Cross factory address turns out to be his mother’s house, and his “office” phone is answered by a man claiming to be his brother David–although his mother says she has no son by that name.

The more such peddlers proliferate, the more politicians will be tempted to invoke prohibitions. Four states–California, Louisiana, Michigan and Rhode Island–have already banned human cloning, and this spring Texas may become the fifth. Republican state senator Jane Nelson has introduced a bill in Austin that would impose a fine of as much as $1 million for researchers who use cloning technology to initiate pregnancy in humans. The proposed Texas law would permit embryonic-stem-cell research, but bills proposed in other states were so broadly written that they could have stopped those activities too.

“The short answer to the cloning question,” says ethicist Caplan, “is that anybody who clones somebody today should be arrested. It would be barbaric human experimentation. It would be killing fetuses and embryos for no purpose, none, except for curiosity. But if you can’t agree that that’s wrong to do, and if the media can’t agree to condemn rather than gawk, that’s a condemnation of us all.”

Here is what people are saying:

At 11:50 AM John said: Whether you believe in a supreme being or not, it would be very stupid to let this gift go to waste by not using it. It just needs to be monitered.

At 11:52 AM George W. said: As long as we don’t ever clone antone in the Clinton family, this entire ordeal will be fine.

At 12:00 PM Doug said: What is all the fuss about? Cloning is going to help us better our society. Who are we to say that a cloned baby has no soul?

At 2:37 PM Who Knows said: There is no use regulating science. If you try to suppress it, it will maifest itself in the hands of some scientists who have evil intentions. So is it not better that we investigate this phenomenon and know all about this stuff than sitting like lame ducks when this technology is used for an evil purpose (and beleive me, it will be). “Who Knows” whats going to happen…

At 2:42 PM kevin said: It’s true that God said “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”gen 1:28 However, He has given the rule by which we should do so. “and the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for him.”gen 2:18 Also true is that sin is a reality and because of it many disease and complications exist in the world today. So I very much understand the issue of not being able to produce a child because of ill, However, adoption is another choice. What better way to please the Heavenly Father than to adopt a lonely child needing parents, their by fulfilling His character of love.

At 2:43 PM Dennis Fox said: God has been cloning babies already, we just call them twins. A clone isn’t going to allow anyone to cheat death, it only allow someone to have an identical sibling years after the fact.

At 2:49 PM Andrew Langdell said: Cloning, what an interesting subject. Unfortunately, most of the people in this article have not thought at all about the implications of their desires whatsoever. First, the people who talk of cloning their dead children. Their losses are grave, but should the child they plan on getting through cloning really have to grow up with the parents loving it as a memory of on passed on. Seems like a bad way to live to me, as a living memory. Second, God, of any form you believe in, put us here for a certain amount of time, not forever. People shouldn’t be cloning their mothers, that’s just ludicrous! Don’t you think your mother has lived enough and should be able to pass on to a place better than the world we live in today? Cloning is just to big an issue for everyone to be spouting out all these “great” ideas they have already. See what really is going to happen before you start jumping to conclusions about what will be so great about cloning. You say you’d love a baby with a hand sticking out of its hea

At 3:22 PM Realist said: Does anyone think human cloning hasn’t already been done? Get with the human race, people, if it’s possible, and do-able, chances are someone out there has tried it and succeeded. By the way, wouldn’t it be delicious if all the fundamentalist christians out there had to eat crow and work and live with clones in their daily and professional lives? That is, if they don’t try to enforce some kind of segregation for clones(as some will no doubt try to do). I’m all for cloning and the benefits it can provide, if only because it would send another rod up Pat Buchanan’s and Pat Robertson’s behinds. There’s nothing funnier than watching a hypocrite perform the dance of unease with the unfamiliar.

At 4:52 PM Lori R. said: And then Pandora opened the box………….

At 6:27 PM Jones said: I’m a bit concerned about people trying to guess what God wants when it comes to cloning. There’s nothing about it written in the bible. Rather,why not ask yourself what it would be like to have a clone as a child, either of someone you know or not, when you can’t have a child any other way? Or just sit back and think about how many medical advances will come from the creation of clones; not full grown 9 year old children, but rather clumps of 50 cells or so…this clump of cells could be used to treat your grandmother’s parkinsons or your brother’s cancer or your daughter’s bone disease. Not allowing this research is killing people you know and love, and that is something God does care about! Rather than murdering loved ones with inaction everyone should be supporting cloning as a means to save them.