Cloning. Many people associate it with science-fiction novels, not with real life, but animal cloning is a process that is being attempted today all over the world, and human cloning might be next. But should cloning be made illegal? According to the Washington Post, cloning should be made illegal because all nursery rhymes would have to be rewritten: Mary didnt have a lamb, she had two lambs and a sister named Bridget who looked exactly like her. Mary and Bridget went to school one day with both lambs, but the school board threw them out as cloning was against the rules. Also, the role of the father is not important in cloning. He can make one child, but the next is done by Xerox machine. Cloned children, however, would also celebrate Fathers Day. All cloning should be made completely illegal because such an insignificant amount of births are successful, nearly all clones have health problems, and the technology is far from perfected.
Very few animal clones make it to birth, and the ones that do usually have serious health problems, including physical deformities (such as enlarged umbilical cords) to life-threatening conditions (like being born with no immune system) (Boyce 42). Less than three percent of all cloning attempts succeed: . . . scientists have good reason to be pessimistic: several years of animal cloning work has taught them that most cloned animals never even make it to birth and the rare ones that do all too frequently have [serious health] problems (Boyce 42). Because of all of these facts, cloning should never even be considered on human beings. Scientists estimate that fewer than a quarter of [cloned] newborns would survive without intensive care (Boyce 43).
A very high probability of animal clones having all sorts of problems including poorly developed lungs and failing hearts, to grossly enlarged placentas and misshapen heads exist in all cloning attempts. Any attempts to clone a human with todays technology would almost always produce a child with some sort of defect, whether major or minor. Many [cloned animal] newborns have poorly developed lungs. And cattle have been born with deformed heads (Boyce 42). Scientists say that they see some sort of genetic problem almost every time they clone and they do not know what is wrong with the cloning process, or why the clones are not normal. While arguments over the ethics of human cloning have dominated [debates,] these scientists say the real issue is the likelihood that clones would have genetic abnormalities that could be fatal, or subtle but devastating (Kolata 1). Some animals appear to be normal, but may in fact have brain development problems that are not apparent because they are not sophisticated enough to demonstrate them.
Just before Christmas, we had a cloned lamb that was perfectly formed, said Ian Wilmut, co-creator of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from a single adult cell. But the lamb could not stop hyperventilating, and after a few days it was euthanized. An autopsy revealed malformed arteries leading to the lungs (quoted in Weiss A 1). This would also be true in human clones, leading scientists to wonder what would be done with the human clones (Kolata 1). !!!!!!!!!!You can dispose of these animals, but tell me, what would you do with abnormal !!!!!!!!!!humans? . . . You would probably keep them alive with medical intervention, and !!!!!!!!!!theyll probably be miserable; and even the ones that look normal probably wont !!!!!!!!!!be. Its an outrageous criminal enterprise to even attempt (quoted in Weiss A 1).
Another reason why all cloning should be made completely illegal is the fact that the cloning technology is far from perfected. Its a wonder [cloning] works at all (Kolata 1). One reason cloning does not always work the way scientists want it to is because reprogramming the eggs to clone can go wrong, and preliminary molecular biology experiments confirm this. Naturally produced sperm organizes its genetic !!!!!!!!!!material over a period of months; eggs take years to form their DNA. Mammalian !!!!!!!!!!clonesforce the reprogramming to take place within a matter of hours. The !!!!!!!!!!rapidity of the process results in random errors in the expression on the individual !!!!!!!!!!genes (Griffith 6). There are thousands of genes, and there is only an extremely slim chance that the egg alone will reprogram all of them correctly. What irks . . . !!!!!!!!!!cloning experts is that there is no known way to test an embryo for !!!!!!!!!!reprogramming errors. Todays prenatal tests can find problems with !!!!!!!!!!chromosomes–a sign of Down’s syndrome and certain other diseases–or errors !!!!!!!!!!in the chemical sequence of a gene, which may suggest cystic fibrosis or other !!!!!!!!!!genetic disorders. But scientists are just beginning to understand how adult !!!!!!!!!!genes revert to a fetal state in cloning (Kolata 1).
If a human were to be cloned, a slight defect in the brain could mean trouble for the clone. “The worry is the fetus that appears normal but is not . . . A subtle brain defect might mean little in an animal . . . but it would be very important to a parent aching to have a healthy child (Kolata 1). Scientists who wanted to clone a human have claimed that they could find defects in the reprogramming of the embryos by the egg, but experts disagree. . . . experts say that [a team that tries to clone a human being] may be able to spot embryos that are obviously flawed, but that those embryos would likely die on their own anyway (Kolata 1).
Because very little is known about the possible negative outcomes of cloning, researchers continue to experiment. New theories believe that genetic imprints is one of the problems: [Genetic imprinting is] a poorly understood molecular !!!!!!!!!!mechanism through which genes inside sperm and egg cells are turned on or !!!!!!!!!!off in preparation for early embryonic and fetal development. Problems arise !!!!!!!!!!in clones, it seems, because clones are not made from sperm and eggs, with !!!!!!!!!!their properly imprinted DNA. Instead clones are made from a single adult !!!!!!!!!!cell, which is fused with an egg cell whose genes have been removed. !!!!!!!!!!Although the fluids in the egg cell can largely reset the adult egg cells !!!!!!!!!!thousands of genes to the proper on and off positions required for embryo !!!!!!!!!!development, the process apparently is imperfect.
And depending on which !!!!!!!!!!genes are not properly reset, various abnormalities arise (Josefson 315). If people knew the real dangers of cloning, they would not want to clone. Technical !!!!!!!!!!challenges that can make the process dangerous to cloned offspring, and the !!!!!!!!!!mother, include fetuses that are larger than normal and have a low survival rate. !!!!!!!!!! Those people with experience in cloning animals are well aware that the current !!!!!!!!!!technology is unsafe. Its only those people with no experience who are !!!!!!!!!!enthusiastic about cloning a child, said Griffin in Scotland (quoted in Kolata 1).
The technology is far from perfected also because the solutions used to bathe embryos while they are being grown in a laboratory create peculiar diseases. The solutions used to bathe cattle embryos while they are grown in the laboratory seems to create a large-calf syndrome, resulting in large placentas and huge calves that often die around the time of birth (Kolata 1). These diseases could also happen because of the speed at which the reprogramming take place. Researchers speculate that defects in animal clones are caused because of the speed at which the genetic reprogramming takes place (Griffith 6). The eggs dont have as long a time as they usually do to organize their DNA because reprogramming takes place in only hours, where as eggs usually have years to reorganize their DNA.
Scientists say that because of current cloning techniques, human cloning shouldnt even be considered. In prepared statements, researchers object to [human] cloning, not only on moral and religious grounds, but because of health risks to the human clone itself (Griffith 6). There are health risks not only to the human clone, but to the mother as well. . . . an infertile couple that attempts human cloning will face uncertain dangers (Boyce 43). Cloning humans would be just plain careless. [Cloning a human with technology as it is today] would be reckless and irresponsible (quoted in Kolata 1). Human clones would also have severe problems. Serious problems have happened in all five species cloned so far, and all are mammals, so of course its going to happen in humans. No question (Quoted in Weiss A 1). Some scientists have speculated about what would happen if cloning a human was attempted. If a team !!!!!!!!!!really tries to clone a human, heres what to expect, several scientists said: !!!!!!!!!!Almost all of the first 100 clones will abort spontaneously because of genetic or !!!!!!!!!!physical abnormalities, putting the health and lives of the surrogate mothers at !!!!!!!!!!risk.
Of the handful of clones that make it to term, most will have grossly !!!!!!!!!!enlarged placentas and fatty livers. And of the three or four fetuses that make it !!!!!!!!!!to term, most will be monstrously big perhaps 15 pounds and will likely die in !!!!!!!!!!the first week or two from heart and blood vessel problems, underdeveloped !!!!!!!!!!lungs, diabetes or immune system deficiencies. With access to an intensive care !!!!!!!!!!unit, perhaps one of those 100 clones will survive, scientists said. It will bare the !!!!!!!!!!hallmark of most animal clones: a huge navel a remnant of the oversized !!!!!!!!!!umbilical cord that inexplicably develops during most pregnancies involving !!!!!!!!!!clones (Weiss A 1). Cloning humans would be just plain wrong. The likelihood that a human cloning attempt would produce fetuses and babies suffering from severe abnormalities calls for a clear response: Its wrong, and should be made illegal, to court such disasters (Griffith 6). The diseases and defects that human clones would have alone should convince everyone that human cloning should not be allowed. It can be a unique abnormality in each case [of the clones]. We shouldnt deliberately produce [human clone] babies that could have abnormalities (Kolata 1).
There is also a procedure called therapeutic cloning or research cloning that should also be made illegal. [Republican] Sen. [Sam] Brownback [of Kansas] said that such cloning was destructive, not therapeutic, and shouldnt be permitted (Griffith 6). Many people do not support this type of cloning, either. Anti-abortion groups have also enthusiastically opposed research on therapeutic cloning since embryonic stem cells were first isolated in 1998, saying that therapeutic cloning was illegal, immoral, and unnecessary (Griffith 6). “Obtaining stem cells from a human embryo is morally wrong because it involves the destruction of a human life. Human life is inviolably sacred (Griffith 6). The Food and Drug Administration also does not support therapeutic cloning. In the United States, both therapeutic and reproductive human cloning are barred from federal funding, and the Food and Drug Administration has asserted it has jurisdiction over any experiments that involve human cloning (and could be expected to reject them on safety grounds) (Griffith 6).
If the Food and Drug Administration does not support cloning, then it is most likely not safe to clone anything. Many experts agree. George Seidel, a cloning researcher at Colorado State University, has seen all sorts of things go wrong with cloning experiments and says that cloning is not safe (Kolata 1). Other experts agree with Seidel. Dr. Ian Wilmut, one of the scientists who cloned Dolly, said he believes “it is almost a certainty” that cloned human babies would be born with defects. It took 247 attempts to produce a Dolly, he added. Any attempt to clone humans, he said, would be reckless and irresponsible (Kolata 1).
Cloning humans would be a dangerous thing. There would be many health concerns, not only to the cloned baby, but to the mother as well. Many cloned animals do not even make it to birth, due to the fact that they are unusually large and do not have enough room to develop in the uterus. Cloned animals have nearly always had some sort of obvious defect, and the ones that do not look normal almost always are not really normal. Also, there are 30,000 genes and the chances are extremely small that an egg cell would reprogram all of these genes correctly (Kolata 1). As a result, the clones are not normal. Because of all of this, cloning should be made illegal.
Boyce, Nell. Multiplicity Perils. A Human is Likely To Be Cloned and Soon. Is It Worth the Risk? U.S. News & World Report 19 Mar 2001: 42-43.
Griffith, Victoria. Scientists To Lend Weight To Attack On Human Cloning. Financial Times 28 Mar 2001: 6.
Kolata, Gina. Researchers Find Big Risk of Defect in Cloning Animals. New York Times 25 Mar 2001: 1.
Josefson, Deborah. Scientists Plan Human Cloning Clinic in the United States. British Medical Journal 10 Feb 2001: 315.
McPherson, Coco. Creation Myths. The Village Voice 13 Feb 2001: 12.
Why Not Human Clones? The Christian Century 21 Feb 2001: 5.
Zitner, Aaron. House Sets the Stage for Debate on the Cloning of Humans. The Los Angeles Times 25 Mar 2001: A.20.