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Cloning is not new and experiments with frogs and toads date back to the 1970s . Experiments involving plants and animal embryos have been performed for years, yet experiments involving human beings have never been tried or thought possible, until “Dolly”. Her birth shocked the scientific community and has spurred discussion about the possibility of human clones. In the following essay I am going to speak about the subject of Human Cloning, its pros and cons, and speak against the following issues.
Pros of Human Cloning
Prior to arguing against the human cloning it is imperative to note the positives of this genetic technology. Human cloning will allow doctors to determine the cause of spontaneous abortions, give oncologists an understanding of the rapid cell growth of cancer, allow the use of stem cells to regenerate nerve tissues, and advance work on aging, genetics, and medicines. Some people argue that cloning is the logical next step in reproductive technology. Identical twins are natural clones, so reproductive cloning can be regarded as a technological version of a natural process (McGee, 82). If a couple are infertile, why shouldn’t they be able to produce clones of themselves? If a couple have lost a child, why shouldn’t they be able to replace that loved individual with a clone if that is possible? Equally if someone has made a great contribution to science, music, the arts or literature, it seems like a good idea to produce more of them in the hope that we might benefit even more from what would effectively be a much longer working life. What is more, cloning a child could produce a tissue match for treatment of a life-threatening disease (Kass, 141). For better understanding, please take a look at the comparative chart as shown below in the addendum section of this essay. As one can see, the human cloning presents numerous advantages to the modern day society at large, yet is also not deprived of its disadvantages.
Cons of Human Cloning
Now it is necessary to refute pros of cloning wit the overwhelming cons. The “Dolly”, showed that cloning would result in a high number of miscarriages and deaths among newborns. A clone could also change family dynamics in profound and unpredictable ways. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission: “While using animals to understand the biological processes that produced “Dolly” holds great promise for future medical advances, there is no current scientific justification for attempting to produce a human child at this time with this technique” (McGee, 83) . In other words, there is no guarantee that the cloned human will live and not die or experience miscarriages and deaths among its own offspring in the future.
Concern has been raised that a black market for embryos would arise. Infertile couples could buy a cloned embryo that was stolen or was to be discarded in order to have a child. Such black market cloning activity would certainly contribute to the societal disturbances and social reformation, which may not necessarily be a rather positive thing for individual families which certainly speaks against cloning.
Others feel equally strongly that human cloning is completely wrong. With the state of the science as it is at the moment it would involve hundreds of damaged pregnancies to achieve one single live cloned baby. What is more, all the evidence suggests that clones are unhealthy and often have a number of built-in genetic defects which lead to premature ageing and death. It would be completely wrong to bring a child into the world knowing that it was extremely likely to be affected by problems like these. The dignity of human life and the genetic uniqueness we all have would be attacked if cloning became common place. People might be cloned unwillingly – we all leave thousands if not millions of cells around everyday as we go about our normal lives shedding skin! Who will control who gets cloned? Companies are already making money storing tissue from dead children and partners until the time that human cloning becomes available (Kass, 145). It is no wonder that cloning could be used to “substitute” important people for clones and thus get control of the important business and political positions.
Please refer to the cloning tables of Pros and Cons to better understand the issue as shown in the addendum section. The evidence is that a clone would not be identical to the original because it would have a different womb environment and would be brought up differently. For example, it would be very galling to clone Einstein and find that the new version didn’t like maths (McGee, 90). One has to understand that the cloned version would only theoretically be identical to the original version, simply because the human (and animal or plant) is open to the external influence by the elements and personal activity. Thus if the original did sports and the new copy won’t, they would be different. If the original did not have good nutrition, yet the copy has had access to good food, the two will also differ in their physical appearance. Their mental ability will depend on those who were with them during the first several years, i.e. parents. Apparently, if one wants to really make the same person, it would be necessary to have the same parents to raise him/her, feed him the same food, send the person to the same school, expect him/her to fall in love with the same boy/girl etc., so that the person has the same frames of references as the original copy that was cloned. It is apparent that such 100% duplication is impossible, let alone unfeasible.
Until recently, there were few ethical, social, or legal discussions about human cloning via nuclear transplantation, since the scientific consensus was that such a procedure was not biologically possible. With the appearance of Dolly, the situation has changed yet has changed in a way to oppose human cloning. Although it now seems more likely that human cloning will become feasible, we may doubt that the practice will come into widespread use because of the pros of cloning shown above let alone the ethical argument against cloning. While the technology for nuclear transplantation advances, other technologies — notably the technology of genetic engineering — will be progressing as well and will be more acceptable because of ethics. Human genetic engineering will be applicable to a wide variety of traits; it will be more powerful than cloning, and hence more attractive to more people around the world. Yet just like cloning it will also raise more troubling questions and will incur similar arguments against it.
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