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Running head: CLONING

 

Cloning

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Cloning

"There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be."

Charles Sanders Pierce (http://www.quoteland.com/qldb/author/609)

Introduction

The 20th Century saw the most remarkable advancements in the field of science, with the likes of Albert Einstein and Louis Pasteur bestowing the mankind with their extraordinary discoveries and inventions. But the concept of cloning, even though very contemporary, has left the world more surprised than it ever was. Cloning is a recent breakthrough in medical science, which has completely revolutionalised the whole concept of biotechnology. The story starts when a group of British scientists (headed by Ian Wilmut) cloned Dolly (the most famous sheep in the history of the world), in 1997.

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In so doing those scientists set off a spark as well, one that has traveled around the globe setting off fierce debates about the possibilities and pitfalls inherent in this brave new world, a world where it is now suddenly and surprisingly possible for scientists to create exact genetic copies of large mammals -- perhaps including, someday, humans.

Cloning like other field of knowledge has its pros and cons. Basically it is man's perpetual ambition to gain power to rule the world and its creatures; be they men or animals. With the cloning technology there is a fear of beginning of this mad race. Therefore, knowledge gained for useful purpose is a blessing but it must be used responsibly.

Soon after the cloning of "Dolly", a series of arguments generated all over the world, demanding laws to be formulated for the banning of cloning. And recently, along with the generation of the idea that human beings are the next to be cloned, people all over the world are debating over its legitimacy, even its very justification.

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The Adverse Affects Of Human Cloning

Human cloning offers negative affects it could have to life and the world. It is not guaranteed that cloning a human would produce a healthy clone. "It took more than 277 attempts before 'Dolly' was created as a health viable lamb" (Lau, 1998). Ian Wilmut, the Scottish scientist who successfully cloned Dolly, admitted that he might have made a mistake in the cloning process of Dolly the sheep (Lau, 1998). He announced that the cell used in the procedure might have come from a fetus rather than an adult.  Also, human cloning would be more complicated because of the cells that would be used in the procedure. Another possible problem of human cloning is the infant or child's chromosomes could match the age of the donor causing the aging process to speed up in the cloned child (Lau, 1998). It may also result in many miscarriages and deformities.

In addition to this we cannot judge the long-term effects of cloning. Not a single cloned animal has had a life span as long as a human to determine that it won't have a problem as it ages.

Elephants do grow to about half of the human life span so may be we could try cloning an elephant but who is willing to wait about 50 years to get results. Most people are on the fast track of life and are not willing to fund something that will take so long to cover.

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The Positive Aspect Of Human Cloning

Human cloning could also produce positive effects on the world. A good consequence of cloning is that may further the medical world by being able to clone organs, clone cells to replace defected or damaged ones, eliminate genetic disorders, and so much more (Human Cloning Foundation, 1998).

The human body, that the organ is placed in, will not reject the organ because it was made from exact cells in their bodies. "Using the cloning technology, medical science would now be able to unlock the mysteries of cancer and its rapid cell growth" (Human Cloning Foundation, 1998).

Serious illnesses like muscular sclerosis or brain damage could be fixed through the cloning of nerve cells. Another good possibility of cloning is helping families with children who have genetic disorders or that died a premature death. Also if a couple has no child they can be produced by the process of cloning, thereby enabling everyone to have children. Infact,

during the process genetically transferred illnesses can be removed. The parents can have a 'perfect' child.

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Reproduction does not come easily to human beings. About one in every eight young couples of reproductive age are estimated to suffer some kind of shortfall in fertility: shortage of sperm, or sperm that lacks motility; lack of eggs; blocked fallopian tubes; lack of womb; incompatibility between sperm and reproductive tract; poor communication between egg and sperm; and so on (Campbell, Tudge, & Wilmut, 2000).

Cloning has also helped fix genes. A girl named Kelly Rich (Goldstone, 2001) was unable to communicate (talk, signal, or write). When she turned 18 months she was diagnosed with a rare disorder called Rett Syndrome. It is "a multi-symptomatic disorder causing everything from scoliosis to seizures, from breathing problems to gastrointestinal trouble. A discriminating disorder, it affects only girls because it is caused by a mutation on the X chromosome". (Goldstone, 2001).

This defect leads to premature before they reach teenage years. Her doctors hope that they will be able to clone neurological cells without Rett Disease and replace the defective neurons in her brain (Goldstone, 2001).

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Is Cloning Unethical In Today's Society?

Although there are positive aspects of cloning, it should be kept in mind that there are possibilities of physical harm to the fetus. The procedures are not advanced enough to attempt it on a human life. Since the result of that could be malformations and deaths of many embryos and fetus. Till to date scientists have conducted vast research and the results have been shared with the key stakeholders.  Even if the initial cloning is successful it is possible that there occur some psychological problems. The cloned human may feel out of place, like they don't belong anywhere because the way they were conceived was unnatural or the clone may feel like they need to follow in the steps of the person they were cloned after. For example, if the person who they were cloned of was an established doctor who won many scientific awards the clone may be pressured to attend medical school and start studies to full-fill the life of the person before them.

The cloned human may not only be intimated psychology but socially. Society's perceptions are going to play a harsh role on a cloned individual. The individual may be looked down on by society because of their differences. Many religious organizations don't believe in cloning because they believe that it is playing with God and the clone will not have a soul, just a body. A CNN poll conducted among 1005 American adults found that 93% of people felt that cloning was morally unacceptable, 66% felt that cloning animals was morally unacceptable, 69% are scared of the possibility of cloning humans, and 74% believe that human cloning is against God's will (Robinson, 1997).

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Human cloning comes in conflict with a human being's welfare; therefore, it should not be attempted.

Conclusion

In actual fact we are not ready for the effects of cloning. People will want tailor made humans so that they are perfect. They will want different qualities of famous people.  The government could also place certain standards on human life. If a child does not fit the criteria that the government placed, it could be aborted or used for organ transplants. People will tend to order cloned humans just as they would want; for example, if somebody wants Julia Roberts or Hugh Grant for that matter. This will increase materiality in the world and there will be no value of life.

Cloning is interference with the nature's system .For example we see the aftermath of all our progresses in different fields .We are facing pollution hazards which lead to drastic climatic changes, rising sea levels, the green house effect, the damage to the Ozone layer, melting ice caps, droughts and many chronic diseases. The advancement in technology has brought comfort and has provided us facility and luxury but at the same time it has made living an unsolved problem.

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We can abscond cloning technology by adopting simple and healthy ways of living. Cloning's adverse effect which we may come across, will be in the form of increased crimes like prostitution, thefts, burglaries and these crimes will give rise to a society where "might is right" becomes true.

The cloning of a human life could lead to many changes in this world, good and bad. It could lead to many medical breakthroughs; for example, cloning organs for transplants, helping couples with infertility, or fixing defective genes that lead to genetic disorders.
But cloning could also lead to many unethical treatments; for example, cloning the dead, cloning to create a superior human race without any defects, or the sale of cells.

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Even though we have a long stretch of time ahead of us before our scientists are actually able to create a human clone, what is necessary is that, the scientists who are working in this field are coming into contact with fresher discoveries every day, this phenomenon should be very carefully observed by the respective governments and an air of constraint should be kept prevalent. Nonetheless, there are a lot of grey areas in this topic, and as they say, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", until the first human clone is created we can not view the situation in black and white.

References

Charles Sanders Pierce. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on October 18, 2001: http://www.quoteland.com/qldb/author/609

Campbell, K., Tudge, C., & Wilmut, I. (2000). The second creation: dolly and the age of biological control. New York, NY. (PS)

Human Cloning Foundation. (1998). Benefits of human cloning. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on October 18, 2001:
http://www.humancloning.org/benefits.htm (ES)

Goldstone, T.E. (2001). Cloning a girl to save her. ABC News. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on October 18, 2001: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/2020/DailyNews/2020_010%20216_cloning.html> (ES)

Lau, M. (1998). Human Cloning. University of Virginia. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on October 18, 2001:
http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~jones/tmp352/projects98/groupl/how.html(ES)

obinson, B.A. (1997). Human Cloning - all aspects and points of views. Religious Tolerance. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on October 18, 2001:
http://www.religio/ustolerance.org/cloning.htm (ES)

 


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