Should we allow cloning of ourselves?

Kee Hyun Kim's picture

3rd web paper

Kee Hyun (Andy) Kim

 

“Should we allow cloning of ourselves?”

February 22nd, 1997, a baby lamb named Dolly was introduced to the world from Roslin Scotland.[1] Birth of Dolly has forever changed the laws of biology and reproduction.[2] This was not the first time that scientists have successfully cloned an animal. Frogs have been cloned from tadpoles as early as the 1952.[3] Mice have been cloned from embryos since 1970, sheep’s and cattle’s have been cloned from embryos since 1979. [4] The sheep cloned at Roslin institute in Scotland, however, was significant because it was created from a cloned adult mammary cell.[5] Through a nuclear transfer process, Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell; creators of Dolly, were able to disprove the previously accepted notion that specialization of cells that goes on through the development of an organism is irreversible.[6] This breakthrough in biomedical research was significant because it could be used to clone humans also. Cloning Humans now became a feasible goal that could take place in the near future, as a result, there has been a fierce debate among scientists about whether human cloning is beneficial to society and should future studies, experiments and attempts be made to clone man kind. So why do proponents of human cloning support this idea and why do opponents of it so adamantly oppose it?

Proponents of human cloning state that cloning will bring huge benefits to the area of biology and medicine and that its side effects are not as detrimental as its critic’s state. Although many benefits can be achieved by cloning humans, in areas such as vaccination studies, the biggest gain would be the ability to produce organs for people in need of a transplant. In America alone, there are currently more than 98,000 men, women and children enlisted in the organ transplant waiting list.[7] Every 90 minutes someone on the waiting list dies because he or she wasn’t able to receive the transplant.[8] The average wait time today is around five to eight years and is expected to double by 2010.[9] Contrary to the horrific accounts given by the critics, humans do not have to be bred like domestic animals for their kidneys and body parts like they were in the movie Island. Advancement in research in the area of genetic code will allow scientists to control the sequence specialization allowing certain genes to be turned on or off.[10] This will allow scientist to grow organs individually without cloning the individual as a whole. The benefits of acquiring organs by such method will be enormous; because it will be genetically identical to the patient. Therefore, the patient will not be faced with the danger of his body’s immune system rejecting the donate organ, which is the primary reason for transplant failures and deaths.

Proponents further state that human cloning will not bring an end to individuality, a concern raised by critics of human cloning. Every electrons neutrons and protons are indistinguishable among each other.[11] Even at the level of atoms, a combination of protons, neutrons and electrons, there is no individuality.[12] Every carbon atoms are identical to each other; there will be no difference in the carbon atom found in a human’s body to a carbon atom found in coal. This uniformity only begins to break as these atoms are grouped into complex structures such as enzymes and proteins and this is precisely why cloning will not bring a end to individuality. The process in which the molecules are grouped to create enzymes is so complex that it is impossible to have an exactly identical cell structure.[13] How genetically identical twins, despite coming from the same womb, have different physical and mental characteristic is a excellent example of how cloning will not and cannot destroy individuality.[14] Banning Human cloning will would be a modern day equivalent of taking away Galileo’s telescope during the 17th century because it was considered a blasphemy.[15]  The negative effect of prohibiting human cloning will go far beyond the area of natural sciences, it will undermine the very ability of the human species to manage its own evolution, which makes them unique and differentiates them from any other living organisms.[16]

Critiques of human cloning, however, strongly disagree that human cloning will be beneficial to humanity. The critiques believe that the cloning of humans will bring unbearable damage to society and is a road that neither scientists nor society should even consider taking. Although there are numerous costs that society will have to pay if it wishes to proceed with cloning humans, the largest and most immediate cost will be bared by the initial clones. The success rate of somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning, the technique which was used to clone Dolly and is currently the most likely method to be used if humans were cloned, is a mere 1 out of 277.[17] 99.64% of the attempts to create a clone ended up as at not only a failure but also produced at least one of the following situations; hormonal manipulation in the egg donor, multiple miscarriages in the birth mother and severely abnormally developed clones.[18] Performing such experiments of humans is not only inhumane and goes against Hippocratic canon; it will also be a violation of Nuremburg code which prohibits inducing physical and psychological pain in conducting researches.[19]

             Although the individuals directly involved will take the largest and most immediate burden of cloning humans, they are certainly not the only ones to suffer. A possible widespread resurgence of eugenics is what concerns many critiques of human cloning. Eugenics, raised from the strong desire of humans to improve on nature, has existed among society for a very long time and is a very dangerous idea.[20] If cloning can done freely according to the individuals will, it will not take long for society to develop certain types of genes as superior over the other and it will very quickly resemble the cast society depicted in the movie Gattaca. As recently as 60 years ago, Eugenics has swept across the globe, resulting in the massive murder of millions of innocent individuals simply because they were deemed inferior and therefore were not worthy enough to exist. Eugenics should not be allowed to haunt the world again and to do so, a tight ban on cloning humans is absolutely necessary.[21]

After conducting research for this web paper, I was able to learn significant information regarding the debate of human cloning. Although supporters of human cloning make many valid points, the story of the critiques was a better story to me. I believe cloning human not only goes against the Hippocrates canon and the Nuremburg treaty but is also against the very idea that the United States was founded upon. Regardless of what procedure is taken, early trials of human cloning are bound to produce failures, resulting in the miscarriages and disfigured clones. As the constitution states, it is the job of the US government to protect the safety of its citizens, which would apply to clones as well. Although I believe that cloning humans should not be pursued, I think that additional research in this area should be conducted; not for the purpose of cloning humans but because it can be used in other areas, such as breeding pigs with human hearts.

 

 

 

 

             Bibliography

 

1.       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997, The year 1997, Wikipedia

2.       David L. Bender, Biomedical ethics, Greenhave press, San Diego, 1998

3.       Richard T. Hull, No fear, Free inquiry, Council of Democratic and secular humanist, 1997

4.       Clone encounters”, editorial, Nature Genetics, 1997

5.       Geroge, Johnson, “Don’t worry. A brain still can’t be cloned”, The New York Times, 1997

6.       The gift of a lifetime, http://www.organtransplants.org/understanding/unos/

7.       Sally, Satel, Death’s waiting list, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/15/opinion/15satel.html

8.       National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Being, Report and Recommendations of The National Bioethics Advisory Commission 1997

9.       Keving T. Fitzgerald, Little lamb, who made thee?, America, 1997

10.   Allen Verhey, Cloning and the human family: Theology after Dolly, Christian century foundation, 1997

 



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997, The year 1997, Wikipedia

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997, The year 1997, Wikipedia

[3] David L. Bender, Biomedical ethics, p.16

[4] David L. Bender, Biomedical ethics, p.16

[5] David L. Bender, Biomedical ethics, p.16

[6] Richard T. Hull, No fear, p.1

[10] Richard T. Hull, No fear, p.3

[11] Geroge, Johnson, “Don’t worry. A brain still can’t be cloned, p.1

[12] Geroge, Johnson, “Don’t worry. A brain still can’t be cloned, p.1

[13] Geroge, Johnson, “Don’t worry. A brain still can’t be cloned, p.1

[14] Geroge, Johnson, “Don’t worry. A brain still can’t be cloned, p.2

[15] Geroge, Johnson, “Don’t worry. A brain still can’t be cloned, p.2

[16] Geroge, Johnson, “Don’t worry. A brain still can’t be cloned, p.2

[17] National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Being, p.1

[18] National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Being, p.1

[19] National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Being, p.1

[20] National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Being, p.4

[21] Keving T. Fitzgerald, Little lamb, who made thee, p.1

Comments

Beef Cows's picture

Beef Cattle

Should we clone? Sure why, why not? Who are we to play God with someone else's life? Why in the world wouldn't we let people who want to be cloned, be cloned? Are you afraid of clones or something? Come on... clones are people, too. And it's not like people aren't already being cloned. They are being cloned. The Raelians have been doing human cloning for years already, and many human clones have already been born. It is no big deal. It is just a big deal for people who don't understand it or think that clones are scary or want to take over. Those people have just watched too many movies.

CLONES ARE PEOPLE TOO!

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