For many years, the cloning of adults, animals or humans has been mostly the object of science fiction, something unforeseen by man. However, “The world was shocked in February of 1997 when British scientist, named Ian Wilmot announced that his research team successfully cloned lamb named dolly from an adult sheep at the Roselyn Institute in Scotland”. (1) For what seemed like a dream for many years quickly turned into reality. The newest and possibly the most controversial phenomena in curing human disease, a phenomenon better known as cloning, was born.
Through out the history of man, human disease has been considered a leading cause of death. Since antiquity, physicians explored assorted remedies in order to cure various maladies. Ancient physicians made enormous contributions to modern medicine. Even though, immaculate progress has been made in modern medicine, there are numerous cases of fatal diseases, for which modern medicine has no cure. Granted today’s technological advancements, general practitioners are still using several of the ancient techniques and ideas in order to make progress in today’s research and development.
Scientists observe historical data and ideas in order to help generate new ones. A well known belief to man, the belief of reincarnation came from the ancient Egyptians who believed that there was life after death and preserved the body of their rulers through a process of mummification. This is a process of preservation that kept the original body and shape of the ruler for his/her return to earth. Although, this may seem a bit anomalous to the western man, contemporary technology brings this the idea of reincarnation or recreation to life, creating new ways to fight disease.
Modern science takes the idea of human life and it’s regeneration and brings it to life through the process of cloning. In 1938 a German scientist Hans Spemann proposes a “fantastical experiment” to transfer one cell’s nucleus into an egg without a nucleus, the basic method that would eventually be used in cloning. Fourteen years later in 1952 Briggs and King clone tadpoles. Another scientist John Gurdon clones frogs from differentiated cells in 1962. In 1969 Shapiero and Beckwith isolate the first gene.
By 1973 Cohen and Boyer create first recombinant DNA organisms. 78, the release of David Rorvik’s book, In His Image: The Cloning of a man sparks a worldwide debate on cloning ethics. 1984 Steen Willadsen, a Danish scientist, reports he has made a genetic copy of a lamb from early sheep embryo cells, a process now called “twinning. ” Other scientists will eventually use his method to “twin” cattle, pigs, goats, rabbits and rhesus monkeys. 1995 Ian Wilmut replicates First’s experiment with differentiated cells from sheep, but puts embryo cells into an inactive state before transferring their nuclei to sheep eggs.
The eggs develop into normal lambs. In February 1997 Wilmut and colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Scotland report they have cloned a 6-year-old adult sheep from an udder cell. They name the sheep Dolly (after Dolly Parton). It is the first clone created from an adult cell. (4) Although, many believe cloning to be beneficial to mankind, just like with any new discovery cloning has become a widely debated controversial topic.
In 1978 the release of David Rorvik’s book, In His Image: The Cloning of a Man, sparks a worldwide debate on cloning ethics. (4) Many would argue that cloning has tremendous positive aspects and would only better our way of life. While other groups such as naturalists and religious followers, strongly disagree. Those who support cloning feel that cloning could bring our understanding of evolution and human past to a new heightened level of understanding. Cloning would also allow for organ transplant without a waiting list.
Therapeutic cloning [specific cloning technique] and embryonic stem cell research may represent the best hope for the hundreds of millions worldwide who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, ALS amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiply sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, and many other disease and disorders”. (5) Cloning can benefit the economy by providing cheap meat for starving people or allow the production of plant life were cultivation is not possible. However, others would argue that animal rights are violated when doing research and testing on animals.
It took 277 attempts in order to successfully clone dolly the sheep. The idea of cloning brings about fear that animals and humans who are cloned may be owned, labeled, sold, and copyrighted, which humans consider to be inhumane. Cloning isn’t exact and over generations the cloned animals may be filled with genetic flaws due to errors being exemplified through each cloning creating new disorders and complications. Religious groups may also argue that the cloning of humans goes against g-d, since human beings are not the creation of man.
Cloning could also be used as a power during the time of war, allowing countries to create armies. Further more, if everyone would have the same genotype a fatal disease could wipe out the human race. In order to have a better understanding of cloning it is important to understand that cloning has three different divisions: embryo cloning, adult DNA cloning, and therapeutic cloning. First, there is embryo cloning which is a medical technique that produces “monozygotic” (identical) twins or triplets. Nature itself is the greatest cloning agent.
Embryo cloning might be more accurately called “artificial twinning” because it imitates the mechanism by which twins naturally develop. It involves removing one or more cells from an embryo and encouraging the cell to develop into a separate embryo with the same DNA as the original. It has been successfully carried out for years on many species of animals. Very limited experimentation has been done on human embryos. Each naturally cloned twin has a genetic structure identical to the other (in identical twins). In cloning, this same operation is done intentionally in a laboratory.
Through cloning and knowledge of genetics, scientists can create transgenic animals (mostly pigs, whose natural genes are close to human genes) with human genes. Their organs might be usable to humans with little resistance from the immune system. Once produced, trance genetic animals can be cloned as much as needed to produce body organs. Recently scientist used embryo cloning to harvest spider silk out of a ship. They inserted the silk gene of a spider into an embryo of a sheep, in order to produce silk-protein containing milk.
After separation from the milk, the silk protein can be used to manufacture bullet proof jackets for the police, army and other analogous products. Some scientists believe that human embryo cloning might eventually lead to very positive results: It might produce greater understanding of the causes of miscarriages; this might lead to a treatment to prevent spontaneous abortions. A woman might prefer to have one set of identical twins, rather than go through two separate pregnancies to minimize disruption to her career, or she might prefer to only have to endure the discomfort of a single pregnancy.
Second, adult DNA cloning is a technique that produces a copy of an existing animal; it involves removing the DNA from an embryo and replacing it with the DNA from an adult animal. Then, the embryo is allowed to develop into a new animal with the same DNA as the donor. It has been used to clone sheep, frog, and other mammals, but it has not been tried on humans. Adult DNA cloning has many positive aspects to it; many species of extinct animals can be cloned if their functional DNA is found, and also the animals that are under danger of extinction can be saved.
There is little known about adult human DNA cloning. After more research there are many possible ways that human DNA cloning can help human kind. A couple in which one of the partners (mostly males) is sterile can use adult DNA cloning to produce a child. Both would contribute to the child: the woman would provide her body to carry the baby, and the male would provide genetic information. It can help to create new individuals from the DNA of the dead. It can help homosexual people produce their own offspring. Also individuals with desired talents and abilities might be produced with DNA cloning.
The third and final type of cloning is therapeutic cloning is a procedure that starts as an adult DNA cloning. The stem cells are removed from the embryo with the intent of producing a tissue or a whole new organ for a transplant. The end result would not be a human being; it would be a replacement organ, or piece of nerve tissue, or of skin. There would be many possible benefits if therapeutic cloning using human embryos is successful. Then perfectly matched replacement organs could become freely available to sick and dying people.
That would save countless numbers of lives, and increase the quality of life of countless others. Three possible examples of therapeutic cloning might include the use of insulin-secreting cells for diabetes; nerve cells in stroke or Parkinson’s disease; or liver cells to repair a damaged organ. This procedure would have a number of advantages, when compared to regular organ transplant donated by a second person. There would be presumably no danger of rejection of the transplant because the organ’s DNA would match the patient’s DNA exactly.
Another individual would not have to experience pain, inconvenience, and potentially shortened life span in order to donate the organ. The patient would not have to wait until an unrelated donor dies to obtain a transplant, or die on the line before getting the transplant. A new organ could be grown for them as needed. Science has made tremendous break troughs in the world of cloning. In recent cloning development on January 2001 an endangered Asian ox called a gaur died two days after birth of an ordinary disease after it was cloned and gestated in the womb of a cow.
Even though, scientists are not cloning whole human beings, just their cells in January 2000 Britain became the first country to grant a patent for cloned early-stage human embryos. Geron Corporation, which received the patent, says is has no intention of creating cloned humans. (4) The cells are used for research into cancer and AIDS, which is beneficial to humanity. In March of 2000 the group that created Dolly the sheep announces the first cloned pigs. Since the genes of pigs and human beings are similar, Scientists hope that pigs could be genetically engineered for use in human organ transplants. )
Currently, scientist have denied human cloning. However, an Italian fertility expert who has said he intends to produce the world’s first human clone told a TV show on Wednesday three women were expecting a child. (6) The Italian doctor has repudiated to confirm or deny the story, but told Italy state television on Wednesday that three cloned pregnancies existed in the world at the moment. “There are three pregnancies,” Antinori said in reply to the question of how many cloned pregnancies existed.
He said two of the three pregnancies were developing in Russia and one in an “Islamic state” and that they were six to nine weeks along. ) In the last hundred years, science has advanced faster than it ever has before in the history of human civilization. But, the modern achievement of science, cloning, has been banned or certain restrictions have been placed by government of most advanced countries. The reason for such aggressive resistance of cloning is fear of the unknown; the religious institutions and individuals that think cloning is playing G-d and is immoral. Some religions state that the soul enters the body when sperm fertilizes the egg, and cloned people would not have souls.
Pro-life organizations believe that growing human embryos for their cells is disturbing, because they have potential to become people. The embryo is a cluster of cells that does not become a conscious being until much later in the development, and the cells are only a commodity. The cells of aborted embryos can be used in cloning, the special grooving of embryos isn’t necessary. Cloning is the wonder of modern science. It should be progressed under strict supervision of government and other institutions to save lives and apply cloning to more useful causes.
Human Cloning should advance because science must always be free to go where it wishes to go”. Using information about genetics and cloning, scientists could learn what causes many yet incurable diseases and apply their knowledge to improve people’s lives. Human and animal cloning would benefit humanity in many ways. Cloning allows for reproduction of livestock and wheat in order to feed countries that are unable to produce the food. Cloning is a way to end world hunger and create a stable economy. It also makes it possible to produce economically valuable commodities and cure illness.