Just as times change, so do the solutions to problems we are faced with. There is a certain point however, when we have to reevaluate just how much we should allow these new technologies to take over our lives. Human cloning holds extraordinary capabilities that definitely have the power to change our lives and the lives of future generations. Would it benefit us to have the capability to clone a human being? Perhaps, but do the pros outweigh the cons? Think of the doors that human cloning could open.
Couples plagued with infertility problems could reproduce readily and pass on their own genes. Why stop here? Why not make a business of cataloging children? Take pictures of the cloned child and include a short description that would allow prospective parents the choice of which child they want to raise. There’s something very wrong with even suggesting this. Children are not objects nor should they be treated as such. A cloned child could lose his/her sense of individuality and create the burden of trying to follow in the donor’s footsteps.
It’s also been suggested that cloning be utilized by those who have lost loved ones and wish to bring them back into existence. If this form of cloning becomes widely accepted then the once fantastical idea of “eternal youth” is a definite possibility. 1 Of course this would only be possible after “the process of consciousness was perfected” says affiliates of the website “Practical Uses of Cloning”. 1 Perhaps I am behind on new medical developments, but I wasn’t aware that the process of consciousness could be perfected.
What kind of life would the clone lead if he/she were created solely for the purpose of taking the place of a deceased loved one? The child doesn’t have a chance to develop into his/her own person, but rather the person that they were meant to replace. So far I have discussed the reproductive side of cloning, making an exact duplicate of another human being. There is, however, another type: therapeutic cloning. After looking through several web sites, it’s my understanding that this type of cloning is considered ideal for medical purposes.
Instead of cloning human beings, scientists hope to gather the technology to harvest individual organs for transplants. This type of therapeutic cloning is called stem cell embryonic cloning. What happens in this type of cloning is that after the embryo is given four or five days to mature, the stem cells are extracted and the embryo is destroyed. The removed stem cells can then be coaxed by scientists to form new types of tissue. Scientists hope that new research will help transform the idea of harvesting individual organs into a reality.
In many ways, this type of cloning can be compared to abortion. It’s the killing of a possible life. Sure these concerns may be exaggerated and in some cases misplaced. Perhaps it is right to say that though cloning creates a generic DNA duplicate of another human being, it does not create a “carbon copy” of the individual. After all, it is our upbringing and our environment that determine who we are as individuals. What’s to say that the morality of our society won’t be altered with the introduction of human cloning?
Look at how the legalization of abortion has changed the lives of so many people. Getting pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean giving birth to a baby anymore. The consequences for having unprotected sex are a lot less harsh when you have the option of killing a child you created in your womb. Because of this, the morality of our society has faltered – just as it will with the legalization of human cloning. Whether it is the cloning of children for infertile parents or for those who wish to recreate a lost loved one, I do not believe that human genetics are something to mess with.
There are far to many implications that go with these medical breakthroughs. It’s my belief that the natural order of things should not be altered. There are plenty of other options for infertile parents, and cloning a deceased human being would bring more psychological problems then it’s worth. As for stem cell research, I view this as another form of abortion. There is absolutely no need for human cloning in our society at this time.
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Imagine it is the year 2008. As you pick up your daily issue of the New York Times, you begin to read some of the interesting articles on the front page. The top story of the paper reads, “Germany Wins All Gold Medals at the Olympic Games: Is Cloning in Competitive Events Fair? ” Other interesting articles reported on the front page include: “Rock Star Stacy Levesque and Lover’s Nuclear Transplanted Child is Born” and “Former President George Bush’s Cloned Heart Transplant A Success.
These articles are examples of how much of an influence cloning can be in the future. Although these articles would have seemed cience fiction several years ago, the idea of cloning became a reality in 1997. On February 27, 1997, it was reported that scientist produced the first clone of an adult sheep, attracting international attention and raising questions of whether cloning should take place. Within days, the public called for ethics inquires and new laws to ban cloning. The potential effects of cloning are unimaginable.
What would life be like with women who are able to give birth to themselves, cloned humans who are used for “spare parts”, and genetically superior cloned humans? Based on the positive advances f cloning versus the negative effects, one must ask his/herself whether cloning humans should be banned entirely. According to the American Heritage College Dictionary, cloning is “to reproduce or propagate asexually. ” This definition means that cloning enables the creation of offspring without any sexual action or sexual contact.
There are several methods for cloning: separating the embryo and making twins with the same genetic make-up, taking a cell from a fertilized ovum when the cell begins to split and replace it in another female’s ovum, or nuclear transplantation. In the 10 March 1998 issue of Time, J. Madeleine Nash explains one example of how a clone of an adult ewe is “born” from nuclear transplantation. First, a cell is taken from the udder of an adult ewe and placed in a culture with very low concentrations of nutrients.
As the cells starve, they stop dividing and switch off their active genes, and go into hibernation. An unfertilized egg is then taken from another adult ewe and the egg’s nucleus, along with its DNA, is sucked out, leaving an empty egg cell that still has the cellular machinery to produce an embryo. The empty egg and the culture of starved cells are then placed next to each other. Then an electronic pulse causes the egg and the cells to fuse together and a second burst is given to jump-start the cell division.
Six days later, the embryo is implanted in the uterus of another ewe. The result of this process will be the birth of a baby sheep, having identical genes as the first sheep from which the cells were extracted from the udder. Although scientist understand how cloning is possible and what the cloning methods are, exactly how the adult DNA changes once inside the egg still remains a question. Whichever method is used to create a clone, the outcome remains the same – cloning is duplicating an exact opy of another life form.
The term “cloning” was first introduced in 1903 by Herbert John Webber as a new horticultural term and was first applied to manmade populations of cultivated plants. In the early 1980’s, scientists developed a procedure called nuclear transfer that enabled scientists to replace the DNA-containing nucleus of an egg cell with a nucleus from another cell. At Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, scientists raised a crop of tadpoles from the red blood cells of adult frogs; however, this experiment failed when the tadpoles died halfway through metamorphosis.
Last year in the 27 February issue of Nature, Mr. Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland successfully created a clone of an adult ewe and named her Dolly. Dolly was “born” by taking genetic material from cells in the mammary glands of a 6 year-old ewe and putting the acquired cells into an unfertilized ovum. Out of 277 tries, researchers eventually produced only 29 embryos that survived longer than 6 days, of these 29, all died before birth except Dolly. Since Dolly was born, scientists have made additional advances in cloning, and now harbor the concept of cloning humans.
Those who support cloning argue that cloning can enefit the human race and society by contributing to medical and psychological studies, allowing infertile mothers to have biological children, and cloning animals or humans to attain needed organs. Many medical researchers can utilize cloned genes to diagnosis many genetic diseases. By cloning genes, scientists can create hundreds of identical genes and diagnose mutations that result in the disease. By being able to work with identical genes, it would allow scientists to experiment with trial and error and compare the results of their experiments.
By using cloned genes for medical research purposes, it is possible to find cures to AIDS, cancer, and other biological diseases much more quickly. Other researchers who could benefit from cloning are psychologists. Last year, in my high school Psychology class, we debated whether a person’s personality was predetermined by his genetic makeup, or if his/her environment shaped his/her personality. This debate could easily be solved with the help of clones. For example, psychologists could take several genetically identical clones and raise them in various families with varied social statuses and lifestyles.
As these clones grow in their respective environments, psychologist would be able to onitor their respective personalities and draw conclusions to answer the debate. Another group of people who would benefit from cloning is infertile women. Many woman throughout the world cannot become pregnant because they are infertile. Although these women have the option to adopt, the fact remains that their adopted child is not biologically their own. However, by cloning the infertile woman’s DNA and transplanting the DNA into another woman’s ovum, the baby will be born as the biological child of the infertile mother.
Another fact that I found in my research was the fact that there are approximately 50,000 eople on the National Waiting List for an organ transplant and out of these 50,000 people, only 20,000 will actually receive a transplant. If scientists could clone human organs, thousands of people who are awaiting an organ transplant could be saved. By cloning humans, surgeons could reap the organs of cloned individuals, without actually killing a human being. This process of growing human life as material is called “organ farming.
Through my research I have found that the majority of people who support the applications of cloning have been from the medical or science communities. However, there are also many ndividuals outside of science and medicine who also support cloning. For example, Nicholas Coote, assistant general secretary of the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference in England, defends cloning humans by stating, “If I have a clone of me, I am still unique as my clone has a consciousness that is not mine. ” On the other side of the debate, those who advocate the ban on cloning argue that cloning is immoral and against God’s will.
Many people feel that scientist should not have the power to “play God’ under any circumstances. In many religious articles, the authors were appalled with the notion hat scientists were creating life. For thousands of years, religion has taught that the only human creations were Adam and Eve, and that only God and heterosexual reproduction could create life. Advocates of the ban on cloning believe that cloning is immoral and sinful.
Another viewpoint against cloning, as E. V. Kontorovich said in his National Review article, “Cloning would take the humanity out of human reproduction. Gary Bauer, President of the Family Research Council also stated, “Human cloning should be banned because it transforms procreation into production where human children are the customized products. Kontorovich and Bauer both imply that cloning humans would destroy the concept of humanity. Many people who support the ban on cloning feel that cloning is manufacturing human lives as if they were objects and not living beings. Another consequence of cloning humans is the fact that if offspring are identical to their parents, they cannot evolve to adapt to their environment.
E. V. Kontorovich pointed this out in his National Review article by stating, “It is necessary for species to respond to environmental changes so that the human species can evolve. ” Although scientist would be able to create genetically uperior humans at the moment, in the long run humans may become less diverse and unable to adapt to changing climates or other changes in their environment. Also, many supporters of the ban on cloning are worried that cloning could replace the “average human” with genetically superior clones, thus making the human race obsolete.
If Adolf Hitler would have had today’s cloning technology he might have been able to clone an army of genetically superior clones and have taken over the world. Today, if a scientist, who is capable of cloning humans, joins terrorist organizations and clones a massive army of ilitary Generals, these organizations could succeed where Hitler failed. To begin my research to answer my thesis, I visited the United States Military Academy Library and looked through reference books to get facts about human cloning and its possible effects of society.
My next step was to look through scientific magazines to find published articles concerning cloning. These articles provided much information about cloning and the process of cloning. To find as much information as I could, I searched through articles on the library’s catalog online, through scientific magazines, and even though magazines on microfilm. When I felt that I understood the facts concerning cloning, I began to look through general magazines, articles on the Internet, and Internet web pages.
These articles provided mostly opinions of the controversial issue of cloning and I was able to understand how different people viewed the issue of cloning and why they felt the way they did. After I gathered all of my information from photocopying articles and taking notes, I organized my information to match my outline and began writing my research paper. Cloning has become a very important issue that is affecting our world. What would the world be like ith a superior race, such as the hypothetical German Olympic teams of 2008 or with armies of cloned humans conquering every continent on Earth?
Even if cloning is limited to medical research, there will always be scientists who will find ways to use cloning to their own personal benefit. Consequently, even if cloning is limited to medical research, there is still the risk of cloning humans. We simply cannot play God and create life because it is morally wrong and sinful, and most importantly, dangerous. The only answer to the cloning issue is to sacrifice the medical and biological gains of cloning and put an absolute ban on all cloning.
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