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Essay on Human Cloning: Scientific Analysis and Investigation

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Is Human Cloning Worth the Expense of Further Research?

Introduction

What is Human Cloning?

Human cloning, refers to the process of creating a human being that is genetically identical to a pre-existing person through the use of their cells. (Science Daily, 2019), (Center for Genetics and Society, 2019).

Despite many scientist claiming to have done so, there is no verified experiment that has actually cloned another human being.

The process of cloning called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) was used to clone Dolly the Sheep in 1996, who was one of the first successful cloning experiments, is the most likely process to be used for human cloning.

The SCNT cloning method includes the process of taking the enucleated egg of a female donor and fusing it with the cell of the person who is to be cloned via electricity, therefore creating an embryo. The embryo is then implanted into a surrogate mother who will eventually give birth to the clone through the normal processes. (Bonsor and Conger, 2019)

Purposes of Human Cloning

One of the main purpose of human cloning would be to use the embryos to harvest stem cells, and help repair damaged or diseased organs/tissue. This would be the solution to matching the stem cells with the body, since the DNA used to create the embryo would come from the individual needing the stem cells. (Learning. Genetics, 2019)

Another purpose could be to revive an endangered animal species. Though this is not human cloning, it is still a possibly useful purpose of cloning in general. This could prevent the extinction of species if executed correctly. (Learning. Genetics, 2019)

There is also the possibility of cloning deceased pets and animals, which may also lead to cloning deceased people. (Learning.Genetics, 2019)

Cloning “geniuses” or athletes is another reason, so as to further the world in all sorts of ways. Like putting the brain of Einstein in 2019 and giving him today’s resources, to see what he could accomplish. (Learning.Genetics, 2019)

However, the current results of the present day procedure is shown to be quite inefficient and ineffective. Despite several years since Dolly, the SCNT process is still quite dangerous. The success rate has been recorded to be only around 1-4% of all attempts. (Bonsor and Conger, 2019). Even the successes have many abnormalities and don’t survive for longs.

This leads to many eggs to be lost, thus making it difficult for any experiment to be socially and legally accepted.

Human cloning is banned in around about 78 countries (Geib, 2018). This includes the 15 states of the US, and the Commonwealth of Australia,(Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act, 2002), therefore currently blocking scientists from continuing research into human cloning.

Ethical Considerations

Despite having laws that stop scientist from conducting human cloning experiments, there are several ethical barriers that prevent many scientist from even thinking about it.

Harvesting stem cells in itself creates several ethical problems, and many people argue over whether the embryo is allowed to be classified as a human being. So taking them from a clone would still be no different.

Even cloning a loved one creates many ethical issues. Despite it being a genetically identical to a loved one, the clone would be essentially a whole new person, due to a person being made up of genetics and environment. (The President’s Council on Bioethics, 2002).

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So the cloning would be essentially useless since it would be impossible to bring the person that was lost back to life. This also relates to “reviving” geniuses. Even if their genius-ness was genetic, there is still no guarantee that they would ever have the same intellect as they once had. It also raises the issue of whether it is fair to revive someone simply for the purpose of their brain, with no consideration for their own wants and desires. Using them simply as a means to an end. (The President’s Council on Bioethics, 2002).

There is also the significant loss of eggs during the process to create just one clone. Their must also be consideration of the possible genetic defects that can effect some clones. These risks is why many countries banned it in the first place.

These dilemmas bring forward the question of “Whether Human Cloning is Worth the Risks and Expenses of Further Research?”. Should human cloning be legalised everywhere, and even funded? Do the potential risks and ethical issues outweigh the possible gains and benefits.

Hypothesis

It is hypothesised that after investigating the two journal articles, human cloning will still present several risks and seem very unlikely to be worth further research.

Journal Articles

Cloning of a gene-edited macaque monkey by somatic cell nuclear transfer

Aim

To clone a generation of macaque monkeys with a specific genetic makeup to for non human disease model.(Liu, 2019)

Method

To use the SCNT process to clone the macaque monkeys and the Cas9 gene editing tool to genetically change them to meet the requirement. (Liu, 2019)

Results

Out of the 325 embryos implanted into the 65 surrogate monkeys, only 5 of the monkeys were born alive. The clones were shown to have the genetic makeup of the donor monkey and no relation to the surrogate monkey, therefore making them successful clones. (Liu, 2019)

Birth of clones of the world’s first cloned dog

Aim

To discover the possible effects that cloning may have on an organisms lifespan. (Kim, 2017)

Method

To use the SCNT process to reclone Snuppy the dog, who was already a clone and investigate the lifespan of the organisms born. (Kim, 2017)

Results

Of the 97 embryos (fused with Snuppy’s cells) implanted into the 7 surrogate dogs, 4 dog clones were born. One died due to severe diarrhoea. The other dogs were shown to be healthy. They also exhibit no sign of ageing quickly or any physiological defects. (Kim, 2017)

Analysis

The cloning of the dog does have a limitation. Technically the experiment is not complete as it couldn’t be until the clone dogs become deceased.

Both experiments show no signs of breaking the laws of their respective country, and they haven’t received any social backlash for their actions.

Conclusion

Both experiments show the capability of cloning technology of recent years, and that is its downfall. In both cases many embryos were lost, thus still presenting a problem if scientist wanted to take this to Bioethical committees, as it would likely be no different for human cloning. This supports the previously stated hypothesis, which states that human cloning and even cloning in general still present many problems. However, it is important to note that the success rates of animal cloning is slowly increasing, therefore making a possibility for future human cloning.

These findings could be used by anyone seeking to find an opinion on human cloning but could be possibly helpful for bioethical committees.

Sources

  1. Center for genetics and society , . c2019. Center For Genetics and Society. [Online]. [7 August 2019]. Available from: https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/topics/human-cloning
  2. Geib, C.G. 2018. Futurism. [Online]. [10 August 2019]. Available from: https://futurism.com/human-cloning-whats-stopping
  3. Bonsor & Conger, B.C. 2001. HowStuffWorks. [Online]. [10 August 2019]. Available from: https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/genetic/human-cloning.htm
  4. Sciencedaily. c2019. ScienceDaily. [Online]. [10 August 2019]. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/human_cloning.htm
  5. Australian parliament legislation. 2017. Australian Parliament Legislation. [Online]. [10 August 2019]. Available from: http://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00306
  6. Utahedu. c2019. Utahedu. [Online]. [12 August 2019]. Available from: https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cloning/whyclone/
  7. The president’s council on bioethics. 2002. Georgetown. [Online]. [12 August 2019]. Available from: https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcbe/reports/cloningreport/children.html

Journal Articles

  1. Liu et al.. 2019. Cloning of a gene-edited macaque monkey by somatic cell nuclear transfer. National Science Review. 6(1), pp. 101-108.
  2. Kim et al.. 2017. Birth of clones of the world’s first cloned dog. Scientific Reports. 7(15235), pp.

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Essay on Human Cloning: Scientific Analysis and Investigation. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-human-cloning-scientific-analysis-and-investigation/
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Essay on Human Cloning: Scientific Analysis and Investigation. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-human-cloning-scientific-analysis-and-investigation/> [Accessed 1 Feb. 2023].
Essay on Human Cloning: Scientific Analysis and Investigation [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 Feb 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-human-cloning-scientific-analysis-and-investigation/
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