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Essay about Cloning Ethical Dilemmas

The ethical dilemmas of cloning extinct species have been a futile argument that will never have a correct or incorrect answer. There are many different arguments whose viewpoints can help persuade one’s opinion on this matter such as utilitarianism, ethical egoism, social contract theory, Natural Law Theory, Divine Command Theory, and Kantian Ethics. Each different theory is capable of giving us premises to support or dispute this dilemma of cloning extinct species.

For example, Vaughn would say it’s morally right looking at the Utilitarian viewpoint because an extinct species like the passenger pigeons may each mosquito’s and insects, which will help to assist with the over population of mosquito’s. Two very popular extinct species that are in the process of cloning include the passenger pigeon and the Tasmanian tiger. Another example, can be it is immoral based on the evidence from Natural Law Theory, cloning does not follow the roles of nature by bringing back a dead species.

Furthermore, it can also be a selfish act upon ethical egoism because we as humans want to study them, and there is a reason they are not here today, whether it is because of the unsuitable environment, or because of the heinous acts of human beings. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer included transferring an embryonic blastomere into an enucleated oocyte to produce a calf was first demonstrated in 1986 (Pace, 2002). The history of cloning gives rise to our ethical and moral guards about the issue of the use of stem cells or adult cells to proliferate and make another organism.

The first mammal to be cloned using an adult mammary gland cell are two lambs at Roslin Institute in Scotland, a year later Dolly the sheep is cloned. The premise of the procedure included removing the nucleus from a somatic cell of the animal to be cloned, transfer it into a hosts de-enucleated, unfertilized egg cell (oocyte), and then implant the re-nucleated embryonic cell in the womb of the chosen surrogate mother (Ogden, 2014).

Another technique that can be used is genetic engineering, using incomplete DNA sequences extracted from the specimen, and insert the DNA fragments from close living relatives or from those manufactured synthetically (Ogden, 2014). Using one’s cells to multiply another organism takes away a lot from that individual and raises many ethical concerns ranging from autonomy, informed consent, and individuality. In order to protect the welfare of the human population there is current legislation in place for consumable cloned food, but cloned extinct species there are many uncertainties.

One example includes: premarket approval of the cloned product under the scope of regulation number 258/97 (Vaque, 2014). Regulation is being placed upon consumable products, so it is only reasonable for there to be regulation of the extinct species cloned in the near future. An ethical concern brought up by Dr. Herridge in regards to animal welfare with the wooly mammoth would involve experimenting on many elephants to act as a surrogate and carry the young of the mammoth. Forcing elephants to carry the young for human benefit by experimentation, is immoral and will cause a lot of harm to them.

Recreating the extinct takes away the autonomy and informed consent of the elephant, the elephant will have to undergo in-vitro fertilization and possibly carry a larger species than itself. Potentially, the mammoth could be too large of a species and could cause harm or even death of the donor. Dr. Hwang, the researcher in this case, plans on using a blood sample to collect the DNA. Social contract theory or contractarianism states that mortality arises from a contract that self-interested and rational people follow in order to secure a level of peace, prosperity, and safety (Vaughn, 2013).

Without this doctrine, life as we know it would be unlivable, meaning life would be an egotistical contest and everyone would do what’s best for themselves in other words too much ethical egoism would occur. Ethical egoism is described as disregarding the consequences to fulfill the best interest of one’s self. Vaughn mentions in SCT even the vulnerable party deserves the utmost respect and consideration. Vulnerable parties include: the severely disabled, the very poor, nonhuman animals, children, and infants (Vaughn, 2013).

The extinct species to be cloned is the vulnerable party and deserves the respect and consideration of staying extinct because of the lack of the proper ecosystem and knowledge for a successful life. In addition, the Animal Welfare Act uses committees to limit the kind of suffering that occurs while cloning the extinct. Suffering that is known to happen include deformities, early death, and a miserable life in captivity for human entertainment (Sherkow, 2013). There are a few legal issues that come into play while experimenting with cloning extinct species.

First, being the Endangered Species act, which provides listings as “endangered” species or “over utilize” for scientific purposes as of 1973 (Sherkow, 2013). The ESA describes endangered as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and threatened as possibly soon to be extinct in the near future. Another legal, ethical concern stated by Sherkow is: could the revived species be patented? He claims that the answer is unclear, although many other countries allow patents on living organisms. Another question he queries, is whether or not the extinct clone is a product of nature.

The Lost Arts Doctrine may allow patents on existing species if they have been completely lost to the public, but it’s still unclear about reviving an extinct species from hundreds of years ago. A third question to ask ourselves is: How will de-extinction be regulated (Sherkow, 2013)? He states the answer to that is also unclear. The lack of regulation could potentially dampen the enthusiasm on this topic for some top research entities like universities. The lack of regulation could not only make it more difficult to receive funding, but it could drive efforts toward less controlled enterprises (Sherkow, 2013).

There are many ethical arguments that argue the morality of cloning extinct species. The first problem as stated by Autum Fiester from the Center of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania is “consequentialist” in nature and focus on the possible untoward outcomes that may result from this science. The negative consequences can be narrowly construed and broadly, narrowly meaning, focusing on the animal’s pain and suffering during all the procedures. Broadly meaning, the destructive effects of cloning on other populations (Fiester, 2005).

In addition, she also states the slippery slope argument that humans may be adversely affected by perfecting reproductive cloning techniques on animals and then applying them on humans. Furthermore, if cloning were to become a widely accepted procedure, it may negatively impact the future human population, meaning if we create more mouths to feed and supply water for, we may need to invest in a more efficient system. In New York State the issue of water control and supply is going to be an everlasting issue with the world’s population increasing at incredible rates.

Fiester states cloning might also be criticized on deontological grounds. A deontologist is one who believes the rightness of an action derives not from the consequences, but from its nature. Cloning is not an action that follows the flow of naturally reproducing or how God intended us to procreate. In addition, Animal welfare becomes a big issue. The pain and suffering for example the elephant and mammoth research happening now they may have to go through can make people question the experiment all together.

As a continuing argument against the issue expressed in many of the sources, it can and will drain our resources. The cost of cloning and the ongoing research in the field costs a lot and has to come from somewhere, whether it be the government or public funding, no one really knows where the regulation will come into play. Another aspect of the future is our water sources; if we start cloning hundreds and thousands or animals, and previously extinct ones at that, which will diminish our water supply even more so than now.

In addition, a question that should be asked s since this species has been extinct previously, what makes people think it will not happen again and why waste our resources on the cloning if they are just going to go extinct again. A species may have gone extinct because of their lack of ability to adapt, hunt, or find resources of its own. There are many more arguments in concurrence with living without the de-extinction. Another includes Natural Law Theory, which states that the morally correct action is one which follows the dictates of nature, for example, humans are social creatures, and therefore lying is immoral (Vaughn, 2015).

A Natural Law theorist would draw the conclusion: how it is seen in nature, is how it should be (Vaughn, 2015). In comparison, Natural Law Theory declares de-extinction is wrong because it goes against the sequence of nature. Furthermore, rearranging one’s DNA or cloning it, does not follow the dictate of nature either. In agreement with NLT, Cultural Relativism would also deny deextinction as moral. Cultural Relativism states that an action is morally correct if and only if their culture approves of it (Vaughn, 2013).

For example, if the culture is accepting of honor killing, then it is a moral act, no matter how heinous it is. An example of honor killing is killing your daughter because of the disgrace and terrible behavior she has shown. The parent would disclaim that it’s morally right because it removes the stain of dishonor from the family name. This relates to CR because many cultures have a certain religion they follow that would prevent the action of cloning a distinct species and re-arranging one’s DNA would most likely negatively affect cultures and religions all over the world.

Arguments from the other side look at things in a different viewpoint. Arguments that support the issue of cloning the extinct include: Re-establishing lost value, creating value, the Utilitarian view point of cloning may benefit more rather than less in a single ecosystem, and non-consequentialist theories play a role in persuading them to be accepting of this idea (Sandler, 3013). Sandler states that de-extinction of a species could bring back ecological, intrinsic, and instrumental value.

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