Stereotypically speaking, the majority of this world refers to cloning as a fearful fictional story of human replication, such as an army of clones from Star Wars, or The Island. But what most people don’t know is that there is a beneficial side of cloning besides just creating a living being that is identical to its original. Researching and experimenting with human cloning will also open the doors to cloning rare crops, and more animals that even have gone extinct. If scientists can succeed in producing a human clone, it may make people more open-minded about moving forward in the cloning world. Human cloning will give parents many opportunities to design a baby with traits that they may not have in their own genes, produce a baby that is free of illnesses, help aid in faster recoveries, and help scientists better understand the human embryos for future experiments.
Cloning originated back in 1938 by a German scientist named Hans Spemann. He proposed an experiment of transferring one cell's nucleus into an egg without its nucleus, which is now the basic method that would eventually be used in cloning. Between 1938 and 1996 many attempts were made to clone animals including frogs, and mice. Although many failed the website A Brief History of Cloning stated, that John B. Gordon was indeed successful in cloning a frog that reached the stage of a tadpole. This experiment which Hans Spmann advocated as a “fantastic proposal” will soon raise many controversial arguments including the benefits and pitfalls of cloning.
It was not until 1996, that cloning sparked debate in society. “The cloning era began when Dolly the sheep was manufactured in 1996” (Smith). It was an asexual reproduction where scientists took a nucleus, a memory gland, and inserted it into the egg that had no nucleus beforehand and it produced an exact clone itself. Although Dolly did not live long, this first cloned animal helped to open the horizons for many other opportunities. The website, Economist, stated that Dolly helped lead to “one, which came to be known as 'reproductive cloning', was the copying of individual animals. The other was the creation of embryonic stem cells (ES cells) capable of being turned into all sorts of other cells” (The Sheep of Things to Come). Dolly’s, the sheep, existence proved that a new being can be created using adult cells.
The makeup of cloning seems to be a very complex, and sophisticated process. But really to put it simply, cloning is the process of making an identical copy of something. There are two main types of cloning including therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Reproductive cloning is the process of cloning that most folks are aware of. The website, Encyclopedia Britannica, defines reproductive cloning as “the implantation of a cloned embryo into a real or an artificial uterus. The embryo develops into a fetus that is then carried to term” (Clones). In addition, the website states that therapeutic cloning “is intended to use cloned embryos for the purpose of extracting stem cells from them, without ever implanting the embryos in a womb” (Clones). Many plants can do this naturally, but scientists are now expanding their knowledge in order to be able to recreate this technique with animals and even humans.
Cloning has revolutionized dramatically from where it had started in 1938. It’s an experiment that can be used in many different areas of life. This could be from the start of a fetus to even helping and healing people in their middle ages of life. This experimentation may be risky and even dangerous, but it can not be considered a threat if never done. There is also the talk of aborting babies which has also been a debatable topic over the years. If people say that aborting babies is the right choice, then why is creating another life in a different way so dismissive? Many were skeptical of putting the first man on the moon too, but it turned out to be a successful turnout and even made our knowledge more advanced about our outer space. Diving deeper into therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning scientists can help eliminate a plethora of recurring issues and expand their knowledge of cloning too.
There are many misconceptions when the word cloning is brought up. Many adversaries of cloning see it as a wrongful or malicious act to the “unborn” embryo. The article, Human Embryo Research Poses Ethics Dilemma states that “aside from the question of when human life actually begins, many scientists do not regard an embryo as a fetus until it is at least eight weeks old” (Cimons). Not only do people against cloning see it as wrongfully killing a baby's “life”, but also as a potential threat in experimenting with millions of embryos that would be thrown away if the experiment failed. The article, Human Embryo Research Poses Ethics Dilemma, also goes on by expressing the fact that 'you've got a lot of embryos around that no one wants,' Caplan says. 'That is the place to do the research” (Cimons). Women are born with over two million eggs in their bodies but only need one fertile egg for a baby. To continue, women who donate their eggs do this solely by their consent. Many are skeptical because cloning seems to be for just creating a baby of intelligence and appearance. To continue, cloning is further viewed as creating a ‘perfect’ life, but it can help babies have a life with no hardship. Cloning is profitable and valuable as long as it is not morally doing any harm and upholds the qualities of human life.
Cloning in general will heavily impact individuals who can not conceive children on their own. Many families who can not conceive naturally may have to go to the root of IVF or adoption. In the article given it states, “Current treatments for infertility, in terms of pregnancy, are not very successful. They are estimated to be less than 10 % successful. Couples go through physically and emotionally painful procedures for a small chance of having children” (Wilson). Human cloning would allow women who have no ova or men who have no sperm to produce offspring that is biologically related to them. The article, The Arrival of Human Cloning, explains that “If the cloned embryo is implanted in a mother -- often called 'reproductive cloning' -- and all goes well, it develops like a natural embryo through the fetal stage to birth“ (Smith). Many believe cloning is wrong due to its moral value that only God can create living beings and that cloning humans is a “man-made sin”. Although there are valid reasons to go against cloning, this advanced technique serves a greater purpose of relieving people who can not overcome their infertility and any other means acceptable to them. In the article it further states, “couples go through physical and emotionally painful procedures for a small chance of having children. In many cases, couples run out of time and/or money without successfully having children” (Wilson). This technique will help infertile couples have their own family without bearing the hardship of painful procedures that infertility poses.
In today’s society, many argue that people’s looks from the outside have an immense impact on how they are viewed. In society, the term bullying is often heard when a child may not look “normal”. No one, especially parents, wants to see their child bullied for facial defects. With cloning, parents wouldn’t be going through a random generator to know what their baby’s genetic qualities are. In the article, We Have Nothing to fear about Cloning Humans, “every year, an estimated 7.9 million children are born with a serious birth defect of genetic or partially genetic origin” (Harris). By cloning humans, it will be possible for potential parents to actually choose particular traits for their children. This means that sex, eye color, and other characteristics can be selected and not left up to chance. For many people, this is a huge advantage and it would greatly reduce the amount of kids who would have to experience bullying in their lifetime.
Many see cloning as just a way to get a perfect baby, but cloning could immensely aid in eliminating potentially deadly diseases. Without a doubt, cloning humans would enable couples, in which one of them risks transmitting a serious hereditary disease or otherwise harmful conditions to have an offspring that is healthy. In the article, Stem Cells from Cloned Embryos Are Key to Treating Disease, it states “in addition to providing new means to study inherited diseases, cloned stem cells will offer treatments for a large number of degenerative diseases. Parkinson's disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and spinal cord injury, among many other conditions, all reflect damage to cells that are neither repaired nor replaced” (Wilmut). Nonetheless, there is also the root in which parents can use a sperm or egg donor donation. This can help eliminate hereditary risks without the use of human cloning. This procedure is uncomfortable to some couples because they introduce a third person’s genes into reproduction, instead of giving the couple’s offspring only the genes of one of them. Cloning would allow couples to have a baby with just their genetic DNA. In addition, the article states, “In approximately 10 percent of cases, ALS runs in families; that is, it is inherited. In 20 percent of these families, an error has been found in a specific gene, but the genetic error in the other 80 percent of inherited cases remains unknown” (Wilmut). Human cloning could even begin to reduce the overall cost of disease treatments around the world.
Cloning is not only valuable to infants or babies it can also assist in faster recovery from traumatic events. This can include minor sprains, to even a torn ACL. “Victims of accidents where their faces or limbs were deformed should now be able to have their features repaired with new, safer technology” (Wildasen). For people who became injured due to horrific car accidents or professional athletes who tore their ACLs, recovery time could be extensive or even impossible to recover from. However, cloning their own cells can help lower recovery time and in return, true healing could occur easily. With the assistance of cloning, surgeries can be a thing of the past. It would save an abundance of money, but not to mention also save lives, and heartache too.
Science has played a crucial part in how we know all of the nick picky details of this world. Experimenting with human stem cells will give scientists a better understanding of human cells. The technology can potentially help cure certain disorders, by replacing damaged tissues and organs within the human body. To continue, “certain cells in the early embryo are stem cells, meaning they have the potential to become any kind of body cell” (Cimons). The process of transplanting human organs can become simpler too, along with a substantially greater success rate. Around 10,000 people a day on on the United States waiting list to receive a critical organ. Many of them will stay in that position for several months or even years until they pass away. The article, Breakthrough in human cloning offers new transplant hope, states “The technique works by removing the nucleus from an unfertilised egg and replacing it with the nucleus of a skin cell. An electric shock causes the cells to begin dividing until they form a ‘blastocyst’ – a small ball of a few hundred cells” (Knapton). Through the processes of human cloning, there is a chance that organ tissues can be duplicated. Instead of waiting for a random donation, doctors could proceed with cells taken from each patient. This technique can be life-saving to many waiting on the donor lists and can be the answered prayers that they have been waiting for.
Scientists can additionally get a better understanding of gene modification without causing harm to others because of the science of cloning. To research further into cloning, scientists would insert enzymes from bacteria to locate genes within our DNA to create the necessary modifications for duplication. In the article, Chinese Scientists Edit Genes of Human Embryos, “scientists somewhere, researchers said, were trying to edit genes with a technique that would permanently alter the DNA of every cell so any changes would be passed on from generation to generation” (Kolata). Chinese scientists as of right now are definitely implicating the methods of cloning in hopes of finding an easy, and practical way to modify genes. The article further explains, “Gene editing uses a method called CRISPR that has rapidly become a research stalwart. It exploits a system that bacteria use to protect themselves from viruses and allows researchers to cut out selected genes and insert new ones” (Kolata). With further knowledge of gene editing, scientists can succor arguments as to why cloning should continue.
From examining the history, the benefits, and even the flaws of cloning I can conclude that this method will have a strong influence on how our world will be perceived as. I can also see that animals have a tremendous part in the cloning world. It will be interesting if the law of cloning will be passed soon. Human reproductive cloning should be allowed once it is accepted to be safe. For example, stem cell research has potentially many benefits, and the destruction and research on human embryos should be permitted, especially when the destruction of embryos and fetuses routinely occurs during IVF procedures and abortions. In conclusion, there is no valid, objective, or non-safety reason to argue against human reproductive and non-reproductive cloning.
- “A Brief History of Cloning.” Copernicus Science Centre, www.kopernik.org.pl/en/special-projects/archiwum-projektow/projekt-genesis/krotka-historia-klonowania/.
- Cimons, Marlene. 'Human Embryo Research Poses Ethics Dilemma.' Los Angeles Times, Sept, 1994. sirsissuesresearcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2262308662?accountid=35776.
- Harris, John. We have Nothing to Fear about Cloning Humans. , 2018. sirs issues researcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2265989697?accountid=35776
- Knapton, Sarah. “Breakthrough in Human Cloning Offers New Transplant Hope.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 17 Apr. 2014, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10774097/Breakthrough-in-human-cloning-offers-new-transplant-hope.html.
- Kolata, Gina. 'Chinese Scientists Edit Genes of Human Embryos.' New York Times, 24 Apr 2015. sirs issues researcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2262722454?accountid=35776
- Rugnetta, Michael. “Reproductive Cloning.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 12 Dec. 2019, www.britannica.com/science/cloning/Reproductive-cloning.
- Smith, Wesley J. 'The Arrival of Human Cloning.' The Weekly Standard, 27 May 2013, pp. 20. sirsissuesresearcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2267349261?accountid=35776.
- Wilmut, Ian. 'Stem Cells from Cloned Embryos are Key to Treating Disease.' Global Viewpoint, 27 May 2005. sirsissuesresearcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2265982769?accountid=35776.