The prospect of human cloning
The paper explores a utilitarian perspective of human cloning and serious concerns about potential benefits and harms of human cloning. The science behind the cloning experiments is still not understood completely. Whether there would be any significant advantages in human cloning is not yet clear.
The last couple of years has seen some amazing results related to human cloning. Many social, moral, and ethical arguments have surfaced regarding human cloning; that is looked upon as a form of reproduction. It would become easy to replace a loved one who died as a newborn. The prime difference between other reproductive technologies and cloning is that, cloning does not require the biological parent be fertile, and one can choose the genes one's child shall have.
The first successfully cloned mammal, Dolly, the sheep, was a shocking symbol of science and biotechnology crossing the boundaries and getting out of control. Gradual improvement in cloning technology has enabled the researchers migrated to other animals like goat, pig, deer, mouse, cattle, etc. Till now, there have been no substantiated evidence for human cloning, although, South Korean researchers can generate stem cells from cloned human embryos. In spite of recent technological advancements made, animal cloning remains extremely inefficient. However, researchers feel that one day all the technical hurdles will get resolved.
There is important research going on in areas such as embryonic stem cells, organs and tissues. Human cloning would permit the study of genetic diseases generally. Any discouragement at this stage would impact the important research going non in areas like embryonic stem cells negatively. The research on stem cells and specific tissues types could regenerate nerve, muscle and cells that would alleviate serious diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and many other chronic illnesses. The potential benefits of therapeutic cell cloning. cannot be undermined. Human cloning would also enable some infertile people to have children.
Every cloning experiment has never failed to evoke a negative reaction and opponents of reproductive cloning warn that human cloning. would mean “playing God”, it will also threaten the individuality of the cloned person and erode family relations. It will only lead to creating chaos in the natural ordering of generations. Therapeutic cloning involves intentional destruction of human embryos and the intentional destruction of human embryos for research purposes is already debated on. Moreover, human cloning is looked upon as unnatural and needless tampering with the human embryo.
It would be realistic to shoulder the aspect that any future experiments related to human cloning will face high failure rates. Any of those cloning abnormalities will involve failures in genomic reprogramming. The current routine prenatal diagnosis for any genetic abnormalities are still not capable of detecting the different epigenetic disturbances that may occur with cloning.
Since early 1997, national and international regulatory bodies have been looking at the controversial subject and the complex issues relating to it. No Federal funds in US are allocated for human cloning and any attempts to clone humans remain banned. Many State legislatures are far more anxious to outlaw human cloning.
As the national leaders, researchers, academicians continue to wrestle over the future of using this emerging technology, human cloning continues to dominate the political scene.
The possibility of human cloning, raised when Scottish scientists at Roslin Institute created the much-celebrated sheep “Dolly”, aroused worldwide interest and concern because of its scientific and ethical implications. The feat, cited by Science magazine as the breakthrough of 1997, also generated uncertainty over the meaning of “cloning” –an umbrella term traditionally used by scientists to describe different processes for duplicating biological material.
Given this information, you may ask, or maybe right now, you are wondering what actually “cloning” is. Biology defines cloning as the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. However, in Biotechnology, cloning is all about copying DNA fragments to produce a perfect “clone” of the specimen. Derived from the ancient greek word klon, meaning twig, it refers to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.
In this research paper, my main goal is to make you understand and answer our questions on what cloning really is all about, and how it will affect our lives once it is successfully done. Yes, I have my questions as well regarding the process, and the main reason this is the topic I chose is because the idea seems to be both simple and complex at the same time. As to why, I will be answering that as we dig deeper into the topic.
Lastly, before we move to the next part of this very interesting research, you may want to know that “cloning” does not refer only to a single process. It has it’s own complexities, and there are several processes and methods in which cloning is divided and categorized. And now, into the topic we go.
As a scientific and technical possibility, human cloning has emerged as an outgrowth of discoveries or innovations in developmental biology, genetics, assisted reproductive technologies, animal breeding, and, most recently, research on embryonic stem cells. Assisted reproductive techniques in humans accomplished the in vitro fertilization of a human egg, yielding a zygote and developing embryo that could be successfully implanted into a woman’s uterus to give rise to a live-born child. Animal breeders developed and refined these techniques with a view to perpetuating particularly valuable animals and maintaining laboriously identified genomes. Most recently, the isolation of embryonic stem cells and their subsequent in vitro differentiation into many different cell types have opened up possibilities for repairing and replacing diseased or nonfunctioning tissue, and thus possible research uses for cloned human embryos. The German embryologist Hans Spemann conducted what many consider to be the earliest “cloning” experiments on animals.
Spemann was interested in answering a fundamental question of biological development: does each differentiated cell retain the full complement of genetic information present initially in the zygote? In the late 1920s, he tied off part of a cell containing the nucleus from a salamander embryo at the sixteen-cell stage and allowed the single cell to divide, showing that the nucleus of that early embryo could, in effect, “start over.” In a 1938 book, Embryonic Development and Induction, Spemann wondered whether more completely differentiated cells had the same capacity and speculated about the possibility of transferring the nucleus from a differentiated cell – taken from either a later-stage embryo or an adult organism – into an enucleated egg. As he explained it: “Decisive information about this question may perhaps be afforded by an experiment which appears, at first sight, to be somewhat fantastical. This experiment might possibly show that even nuclei of differentiated cells can initiate normal development in the egg protoplasms.” But Spemann did not know how to conduct such an experiment. Research with frogs fourteen years later encouraged progress toward the “fantastical experiment.” In 1952, the American embryologists Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King first successfully transferred nuclei from early embryonic cells of leopard frogs to enucleated leopard frog eggs.
The “activated egg” began to divide and develop, became a multicellular embryo, and then became a tadpole. Embryologists in other laboratories successfully repeated these initial experiments on different species of frogs. But additional experience also showed that the older and more differentiated a donor cell becomes, the less likely it is that its nucleus would be able to direct development. In 1962, the British developmental biologist John Gurdon reported that he had produced sexually mature frogs by transferring nuclei from intestinal cells of tadpoles into enucleated frog eggs. The experiments had a low success rate and remained controversial. Gurdon continued this work in the 1970s, and he was able to produce tadpoles by transferring the nucleus of adult frog skin cells into enucleated frog eggs. Later experiments established that many factors in addition to the intact nucleus are crucial to success. In retrospect, it is surprising that any of these earlier experiments produced positive results. But despite their low success rates, these experiments demonstrated that the nucleus retained its full complement of genetic information and encouraged later investigators to explore mammalian cloning.
The birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the first baby conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), was also an important milestone, because it demonstrated that human birth was possible from eggs that were fertilized outside the body and then implanted into the womb. As for the possibility of cloning animals from adult cells – especially mammals – the work in the intervening years focused largely on the reprogramming of gene expression in somatic cells, the transfer of nuclei taken from embryos in mammals (beginning with mice in the 1980s), and finally the work of Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute with adult nuclei, which led to the birth of Dolly on July 5, 1996. Since then, similar success has been achieved in cloning other mammalian species, including cattle, goats, pigs, mice, cats, and rabbits. The animal cloners did not set out to develop techniques for cloning humans. Wilmut’s goal was to replicate or perpetuate animals carrying a valuable genome (for example, sheep that had been genetically modified to produce medically valuable proteins in their milk).
Others, such as the cloners of the kitten CC, were interested in commercial ventures for the cloning of pets.6 Yet the techniques developed in animals have encouraged a small number of infertility therapists to contemplate and explore efforts to clone human children. And, following the announcement in 1998 by James Thomson and his associates of their isolation of human embryonic stem cells, there emerged an interest in cloned human embryos, not for reproductive uses but as a powerful tool for research into the nature and treatment of human disease. So what does this mean? Having successfully cloning “Dolly” the sheep? I will be discussing that as we go further with the research. Let me present to you now some historical data regarding the actually topic “human cloning”. Here is an actually timeline of cloning processes that has been recorded throughout the past century:
1885| August Weismann, professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at the University of Freiberg, theorized that the genetic information of a cell would diminish as the cell went through differentiation.| 1888| Wilhelm Roux tested the germ plasm theory for the first time. One cell of a 2-cell frog embryo was destroyed with a hot needle; the result was a half-embryo, supporting Weismann’s theory.| 1894| Hans Dreisch isolated blastomeres from 2- and 4-cell sea urchin embryos and observed their development into small larvae. These experiments were regarded as refutations of the Weismann-Roux theory.| 1901| Hans Spemann split a 2-cell newt embryo into two parts, resulting in the development of two complete larvae.| 1902| Walter Sutton published “On the Morphology of the Chromosome Group in Brachyotola magna”, hypothesizing that chromosomes carry the inheritance and that they occur in distinct pairs within a cell’s nucleus. Sutton also argued that how chromosomes act when sex cells divide was the basis for the Mendelian Law of Heredity.| 1902| German embryologist Hans Spemann split a 2-celled salamander embryo and each cell grew to adulthood, providing proof that early embryo cells carry necessary genetic information.
This finally disproved Weismann’s 1885 theory that the amount of genetic information in cells decreases with each division.| 1914| Hans Spermann conducted and early nuclear transfer experiment.| 1928| Hans Spemann performed further, successful nuclear transfer experiments.| 1938| Hans Spemann published the results of his 1928 primitive nuclear transfer experiments involving salamander embryos in the book “Embryonic Development and Induction.” Spemann argued the next step for research should be the cloning organisms by extracting the nucleus of a differentiated cell and putting it into an enucleated egg.| 1944| Oswald Avery found that a cell’s genetic information was carried in DNA.| 1950| First successful freezing of bull semen at -79°C for later insemination of cows was accomplished.| 1952| First animal cloning: Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King cloned northern leopard frogs.| 1953| Francis Crick and James Watson ,working at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, discovered the structure of DNA.| 1962| Biologist John Gurdon announced that he had cloned South African frogs using the nucleus of fully differentiated adult intestinal cells.
This demonstrated that cells’ genetic potential do not diminish as the cell became specialized.| 1962 – 65| Robert G. McKinnell, Thomas J. King, and Marie A. Di Berardino produced swimming larvae from enucleated oocytes that had been injected with adult frog kidney carcinoma cell nuclei.| 1963| Biologist J.B.S. Haldane coined the term “clone” in a speech entitled “Biological Possibilities for the Human Species of the Next Ten-Thousand Years.”| 1964| F.C. Steward grew a complete carrot plant from a fully differentiated carrot root cell.| 1966| Marshall Niremberg, Heinrich Mathaei, and Severo Ochoa broke the genetic code, discovering what codon sequences specified each of the twenty amino acids.| 1966| John B. Gurdon and V. Uehlinger grew adult frogs after injecting tadpole intestinal cell nuclei into enucleated oocytes.| 1967| DNA ligase, the enzyme responsible for binding together strands of DNA, was isolated.
1969| James Shapiero and Johnathan Beckwith announced that they had isolated the first gene.| 1970| Howard Temin and David Baltimore each independently isolated the first restriction enzyme.| 1972| Paul Berg combined the DNA of two different organisms, thus creating the first recombinant DNA molecules.| 1973| Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer created the first recombinant DNA organism using recombinant DNA techniques pioneered by Paul Berg. Also known as gene splicing, this technique that allows scientists to manipulate the DNA of an organism – the basis of genetic engineering.| 1977| Karl Illmensee and Peter Hoppe created mice with only a single parent.| 1978| David Rorvik published the novel In His Image: The Cloning of a Man.| 1978| Baby Louise, the first child conceived throughin vitro fertilization, was born.| 1979| Karl Illmensee claimed to have cloned three mice.|
1980| In the case Diamond v. Chakrabarty, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a “live, human made microorganism is patentable material.”| 1983| Kary B. Mullis developed the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 1983. This process allows for the rapid synthesis of designated fragments of DNA.| 1983| Davor Solter and David McGrath tried to clone mice using their own version of the nuclear transfer method.| 1983| The first human mother-to-mother embryo transfer was completed.| 1983 – 86| Marie A. Di Berardino, Nancy H. Orr, and Robert McKinnell transplanted nuclei of adult frog erythrocytes, thus obtained pre-feeding and feeding tadpoles.| 1984| Steen Willadsen cloned a sheep from embryo cells, the first verified example of mammal cloning using the process of nuclear transfer.| 1985| Steen Willadsen used his cloning technique to duplicate prize cattle embryos.
| 1985| Ralph Brinster created the first transgenic livestock: pigs that produced human growth hormone.| 1986| Using differentiated, one week old embryo cells, Steen Willadsen cloned a cow.| 1986| Artificially inseminated surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead gave birth to Baby M. She tried and failed to retain custody.| 1986| Neal First, Randal Prather, and Willard Eyestone used early embryo cells to clone a cow.| October 1990| The National Institutes of Health officially launched the Human Genome Project to locate the 50,000 to 100,000 genes and sequence the estimated 3 billion nucleotides of the human genome.| 1993| M. Sims and N.L. First reported the creation of calves by transfer of nuclei from cultured embryonic cells.| 1993| Human embryos were first cloned.|
July 1995| Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell used differentiated embryo cells to clone two sheep, named Megan and Morag.| July 5, 1996| Dolly, the first organism ever to be cloned from adult cells, was born.| February 23, 1997| Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland officially announced the birth of “Dolly”| March 4, 1997| President Clinton proposed a five year moratorium on federal and privately funded human cloning research.| July 1997| Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell, the scientists who created Dolly, also created Polly, a Poll Dorset lamb cloned from skin cells grown in a lab and genetically altered to contain a human gene.| August 1997| President Clinton proposed legislation to ban the cloning of humans for at least 5 years.| September 1997| Thousands of biologists and physicians signed a voluntary five-year moratorium on human cloning in the United States.|
December 5, 1997| Richard Seed announced that he intended to clone a human before federal laws could effectively prohibit the process.| early January 1998| Nineteen European nations signed a ban on human cloning.| January 20, 1998| The Food and Drug Administration announced that it had authority over human cloning.| July 1998| Ryuzo Yanagimachi, Toni Perry, and Teruhiko Wakayama announced that they had cloned 50 mice from adult cells since October, 1997.| January 1998| Botechnology firm Perkin-Elmer Corporation announced that it wold work with gene sequencing expert J. Craig Venture to privately map the human genome.|
Should be interesting enough, right? So in 1998 there was actually a major advancement in the field of genealogy which took us a step closer towards human cloning. “The Human Genome”. The genome of homosapiens stored in 23 chromosome pairs, was launched – 30 years after the successful deciphering of the DNA code which was done in 1968. It came as a major boost for the much-aspired practice of human cloning. Even though animal cloning was still in it’s infancy stage, several scientists attempted to clone the human cells.
In 2002, Clonaid – a human cloning company founded in 1997, revealed that it had sucessfully cloned humans, and made public a picture of a baby which was allegedly the first clone human, named Eve. The company followed up with more of such revelations, but it was difficult to assess the credibility of these claimsas they refused to undergo a DNA test of the mother and child. More of such claims also surfaced, though none were credible enough. Human Cloning Prohibition Act
Just when things were falling in place and we were close to the development of a human clone, a major setback came in the form of the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2009, which deemed cloning unlawful, unethical and an immoral activity. The opposition to cloning of humans came from scientific community, which was not satisfied with the results of animal cloning, and the religious communities, which believe that the cloning of humans is an activity which interferes with human life and procreation. Due to the much-debated ethical issues of cloning, both reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning are opposed, and even banned in some countries, today.
The fraternity of pro-cloning scientists and researchers though, are hoping that human cloning will be legalized some time soon – after which they can get back to their labs, and continue experiments related to the same. Though the death of various cloned animals has questioned the practice of cloning time and again, each of these experiments has put humans one step towards the seemingly impossible goal of successfully cloning its own kind.
Techniques/Methods of Cloning:
* Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
The term somatic cell nuclear transfer refers to the transfer of the nucleus from a somatic cell to an egg cell. A somatic cell is any cell of the body other than a germ (sex) cell. An example of a somatic cell would be a blood cell, heart cell, skin cell, etc. In this process, the nucleus of a somatic cell is removed and inserted into an unfertilized egg that has had its nucleus removed. The egg with its donated nucleus is then nurtured and divides until it becomes an embryo. The embryo is then placed inside a surrogate mother and develops inside the surrogate. * The Roslin Technique
The Roslin Technique is a variation of somatic cell nuclear transfer that was developed by researchers at the Roslin Institute. The researchers used this method to create Dolly. In this process, somatic cells (with nuclei in tact) are allowed to grow and divide and are then deprived of nutrients to induce the cells into a suspended or dormant stage. An egg cell that has had its nucleus removed is then placed in close proximity to a somatic cell and both cells are shocked with an electrical pulse. The cells fuse and the egg is allow to develop into an embryo. The embryo is then implanted into a surrogate. * The Honolulu Technique
The Honolulu Technique was developed by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama at the University of Hawaii. In this method, the nucleus from a somatic cell is removed and injected into an egg that has had its nucleus removed. The egg is bathed in a chemical solution and cultured. The developing embryo is then implanted into a surrogate and allowed to develop. We’re done discussing the historical background of human cloning. And “cloning” also in the general sense was also, at the very least, has been thoroughly defined. I
hope this has been informative enough to shed some light as to how cloning was little by little, brought into the mainstream of scientific breakthroughs. Moving on to the next part, I will now discussed the problems associated with human cloning. Statement of the Problem:
The main problem on human cloning is that there has been no advancement to the process since the “genome”. And even though it was a major advancement, the process remains very inconsistent and very risky in many of it’s aspects, and there had been many issues regarding it. Conflicts about it’s ethical and moral implications are popped out the moment human cloning has been brought into the frontlines of scientific studies. We, as people have different cultures and traditions and these factors greatly influence the advancement of cloning in a far deeper sense. The question is, what exactly are the risks of cloning?
Reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. More than 100 nuclear transfer procedures could be required to produce one viable clone. In addition to low success rates, cloned animals tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection, tumor growth, and other disorders. Japanese studies have shown that cloned mice live in poor health and die early. About a third of the cloned calves born alive have died young, and many of them were abnormally large. Many cloned animals have not lived long enough to generate good data about how clones age. Appearing healthy at a young age unfortunately is not a good indicator of long-term survival.
Clones have been known to die mysteriously. For example, Australia’s first cloned sheep appeared healthy and energetic on the day she died, and the results from her autopsy failed to determine a cause of death. In 2002, researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reported that the genomes of cloned mice are compromised. In analyzing more than 10,000 liver and placenta cells of cloned mice, they discovered that about 4% of genes function abnormally. The abnormalities do not arise from mutations in the genes but from changes in the normal activation or expression of certain genes. Problems also may result from programming errors in the genetic material from a donor cell.
When an embryo is created from the union of a sperm and an egg, the embryo receives copies of most genes from both parents. A process called “imprinting” chemically marks the DNA from the mother and father so that only one copy of a gene (either the maternal or paternal gene) is turned on. Defects in the genetic imprint of DNA from a single donor cell may lead to some of the developmental abnormalities of cloned embryos. From these information, it gives us the impression that cloning is too risky and many people believe that it is quite impossible to clone a human being when the results of the trial conducted are not very compelling and satisfactory. In fact, in some cases, the thought of cloning a human instills fear on most religious people because of their belief of the Divine and the laws in conjunction with their beliefs. Another question arises, thus creating more conflict and even bigger arguments about the process. Should humans be cloned?
Physicians from the American Medical Association and scientists with the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued formal public statements advising against human reproductive cloning. The U.S. Congress has considered the passage of legislation that could ban human cloning. Due to the inefficiency of animal cloning (only about 1 or 2 viable offspring for every 100 experiments) and the lack of understanding about reproductive cloning, many scientists and physicians strongly believe that it would be unethical to attempt to clone humans. Not only do most attempts to clone mammals fail, about 30% of clones born alive are affected with “large-offspring syndrome” and other debilitating conditions. Several cloned animals have died prematurely from infections and other complications. The same problems would be expected in human cloning. In addition, scientists do not know how cloning could impact mental development. While factors such as intellect and mood may not be as important for a cow or a mouse, they are crucial for the development of healthy humans. With so many unknowns concerning reproductive cloning, the attempt to clone humans at this time is considered potentially dangerous and ethically irresponsible.
The problems are quite disturbing and it require lots of critical thinking, analysis, arguments, debates, etc. to point out the quintessence of the cloning problems. I would like to add a personal touch into the next part, the causes and effects. Causes and Effects:
Now, let’s view the concept in a much bigger perspective. At first, I had problems analyzing what may be the real cause(s) of the problems about the cloning process, and what are the implications of human cloning failures. So by gathering more significant information and resources, I was able to cite several causes as well as the effects of the problems I stated in a broad concept.
All the talk in recent years about the possibility of cloning human beings has everyone a little unsettled. Even those most enthusiastic about the project speak in cautious, albeit hopeful and optimistic, terms. Most folks aren’t quite sure what to make of the prospect of “engineering” human beings, although they are a little troubled by the thought, while not a few are very concerned, and some even outraged, over the very idea. It’s good that there is a certain amount of tension in the air over the subject of human cloning, for in many ways it seems we may be about to rush in to something without giving adequate consideration of the ethical, moral, and even spiritual aspects of the proposal. It’s one thing to clone a sheep, or a pig.
We’re accustomed to the idea of manipulating the genes and jeopardizing the well being of beasts for the sake of possibly improving the lot of human beings. It’s another thing to be talking about creating new people out of select gene pools for what can often sound like rather elitist purposes. Alarming terms such as “eugenics” and “master race” spring to mind. From a Biblical and Christian point of view there are at least three problems associated with the human cloning project. The prospect of engineering new human beings out of existing gene banks raises serious red flags in three important areas. * The hubris of science
First is the area of scientific hubris. Following the flood the Lord, surveying the arrogant attempt of fallen men to build a city and tower to celebrate their own technological genius and ability, lamented that, having begun on such a hubristic path, humans would not be restrained to do whatever their fertile—albeit fallen—imaginations might concoct (Gen. 11:6). Modern science has often proceeded on the idea “if we can do it, we may, and probably even should.” That kind of thinking has produced many of the marvels and wonders of modern science and technology; it has also contributed to the pollution of the environment, growing stockpiles of hazardous waste, and the threat to the continuation of civilization itself posed by the existence, and growing proliferation of, weapons of mass destruction. It borders on the realm of presumed omniscience, the kind of attitude that says, “We’re scientists, and we know what we’re doing; we don’t have to listen to anybody other than ourselves.” Yet such a prerogative surely belongs to God alone.
At present a lively discussion is underway over the ethical, moral, and spiritual implications of human cloning. Just because the technology is available—or, at least, nearly available—does not mean scientists should rush to do something the ramifications of which we have not carefully considered through thoughtful, patient discussions in the public square. President Bush was wise, in the summer of 2001, to set the brakes of the engine of the human cloning industry before it accelerated to runaway speed on a downhill curve with disaster as a very real possible outcome. But the pressure on scientists and labs to be “the first” in scientific discovery has led many technicians to take their research and experimentation to other venues, beyond the reach of Uncle Sam (or Uncle George). Our American culture has, in the past, rewarded the pride-driven efforts of scientists to be the first on their block with some new discovery or other.
We award lavish prizes, put people’s faces on the cover of newsmagazines, celebrate them in the schools of the land, and otherwise make every effort to make them household names. What informed American does not know the names of people like Einstein, Pauling, Crick and Watson, and Hawking? Perhaps we should consider coming up with a prize for scientific restraint, awarding those scientists with the Mantle of Wisdom, let’s say, who, after hearing the opinions of sociologists, ethicists, and theologians (among others) determine that their current research project is better off left incomplete. * Human reductionism
The second problem area, from a Biblical and Christian perspective, relates to the view of human beings that pervades and drives the human cloning project. Years of animal experimentation in the development of drugs and treatments have solidified in the minds of many people that humans are just like animals, only a little more complex (all those feelings and stuff). We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we can make this thing work with animals then it’s probably safe, if not outright good, for humans.
That’s why we sent monkeys up in space capsules before humans, and why we study lab rats to figure out how to produce happier and more obedient children. I’m not endorsing this practice across the board, mind you, just commenting on its ubiquity and general acceptance as a pathway forapplying the knowledge and technologies of science to questions of human well being. In the minds of many of our contemporaries cloning humans should be no problem once scientists have proven that we can clone animals safely and with beneficial results. But for Christians this is a serious problem, for we understand the Scriptures to teach that human beings are not simply advanced animals; they are the image-bearers of God, and whatever else that means, it is a designation unique to human beings, one that animals do not share (Gen. 1:26-28). As the image-bearers of God certainly we would expect some kinds of deference, some deeper considerations to be given before we apply the fruit of animal research directly to human beings and communities.
The reductionist approach of modern evolutionary science to the question of the nature of human beings has, as recently as the last century, led to human disaster on a massive scale. Tyrants of many stripes, having reduced certain humans to a sub-human level—if only because of ethnic, philosophical, or religious differences—felt no qualms about systematically eradicating those people who had been reduced to sub-human status by their particular worldview. It is not hard to imagine that cloned human beings—for example, some that might “go wrong” —could be easily disposed of, like lab rats, or that certain types of human beings, because of “deficient gene pools” (or whatever), might be disqualified from cloning. And, hey, if they aren’t worth cloning for the betterment of humankind, then what good are they? I recall Francis Schaeffer’s chilling observation regarding the straight line from abortion to euthanasia of the elderly to culling the population for whatever reason: “If the fetus gets in the way, ditch it. If the old person gets in the way, ditch it. If you get in the way…”
Human degradation and devaluation Finally, the problem of human reductionism leads to the degradation and devaluation of human life. If the human being amounts to little more than a shopping mall of genes, available on demand for the future betterment of the race, then the genes are more important than any individual carrier thereof. There are scientists today who insist that everything about us, everything we think, do, are, aspire to, or become, is determined by our genes. Find the right genes, the best genes, and learn to control and combine them, and you can make life better for someone…or for their gene pool. It would be easy to lose sight of the forest (the human person) for the sake of the trees (the genes) in such a situation, and we would be back to classifying people by recognizable gene traits—like color of skin or eyes, shape of skull, ability to reason, or whatever anybody in authority determined to be the desirable traits.
People would no longer matter, just traits—just as the young people Hitler rounded up for his breeding camps did not matter as individuals, only as possible conveyors of better genes for the future realization of the “master race.” Further, the fixation on genes can lead us to believe that things like affections, minds, and consciences—the very stuff of the soul (1 Tim. 1:5)—do not exist, and, thus, need not be taken seriously in seeking to solve problems relevant to the human situation. When everything can be reduced to genes, we don’t need such archaic and useless notions as compassion, self-control, aesthetic delight, forgiveness, love, and the like. All we need are better genes. We’ll figure out how to make those genes available—perhaps in gel caps or chewable tablets—and you’ll be better in no time! And if such “gene therapies” don’t seem to take hold in you, well then, it’s apparent you are beyond help. Your gene pool can’t be improved. We’ll therefore have to rethink your status, what “class” of human—or subhuman—you might be.
And then If human beings are not the image-bearers of God, if they are only animals, to be manipulated, improved, refined, and, yes, cloned, then there is no reason to think that any of those notions of “humanity,” “humaneness,” or “human-kindness,” ideas that had their origins in the days when we thought otherwise about the kind of beings people are, should have any more utility in the brave new world we are creating. Which makes it extremely important that Christians not sit out the current debate about cloning. The hubris of science and the momentum of an evolutionary age are stoking the boilers of the cloning industry, and the engine is building steam for a full-speed-ahead-noholds-barred plunge over the cliff and into the abyss of postmodern anthropology. For now, the brakes are set. But the present engineer won’t always be in the cabin. The time for Christians to be speaking and working for a change in the consensus of thinking about cloning is now, and, as a former president once asked of his cabinet, “If not us, who; if not now, when?”
Let’s now move to the next part. How was I able to gather the information I have provided aside from my personal statements and analysis? How broad is my resource in collecting the data? Furthermore, what are the boundaries and how large, really, is the topic of human cloning is? These questions will be answered shortly as we go into the next part.
Scope and Limitations:
By now, you should have been enlightened to the significance of this research and a far more interesting idea is that, there are still more to be discussed about the topic. If you thought that the research was still lacking sense, let me share to you more details and let us explore the dark areas covered in this research. Thus, in this part, you should be able to understand the scope of my research, before I wrap this with the limitations naturally set by the topic and also before we form a conclusion to this research. * Arguments for:
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. 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.
* and against:
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. How much scope will there be for unscrupulous dealings if human cloning becomes a reality?
* The Politics of Human Biotechnology
Human genetic and reproductive technologies pose immense challenges for the human future. If used responsibly they offer new ways to treat disease and otherwise improve the human condition. If misused, they could exacerbate existing disparities, create new forms of discrimination and inequality, and open the door to high-tech eugenic practices. In short, biotech tools and practices have the power to promote or undermine individual well-being and public health, to create private fortunes or advance the public interest, and to foster or threaten a just and fair society. New human biotechnologies are being developed very rapidly. Neither the general public nor policy makers are fully aware of the nature and magnitude of the challenges they present. Regulatory oversight is inadequate at both national and international levels. Few civil society organizations have identified the issues these technologies raise as priority concerns. The result is an accelerating stream of technological, social and commercial “facts on the ground” – new products and industries, cultural icons and images, and concentrations of wealth and influence – that undermines the prospect of democratic governance of human biotechnologies. Contrary to many accounts, however, the genie is not out of the bottle. The most dangerously consequential biotechnologies have yet to be fully developed and marketed.
Influential individuals and institutions are beginning to focus on the risks at hand. Responsible scientists acknowledge the need for strong societal oversight. Many countries have adopted comprehensive policies that can serve as models for others. There is no reason that people of different nations, cultures, religions and philosophies cannot work together in support of policies needed to protect our common human future. Appropriate social oversight and regulation need not impede potentially beneficial medical research and applications. The next decade is a window of opportunity during which we can forge understandings and reach agreements on national and international policies that will allow us to reap the benefits and avoid the risks of these powerful biotechnologies. * Human Cloning
Animal cloning has produced some remarkable results within the last few years, which has suggested to some that there should be a way to produce a human clone within the next year. Many news articles have appeared recently highlighting the potential to clone a human baby in order to replace a loved one who died as a newborn. Many social, moral, and ethical arguments have been raised in opposition to copying a person. For more details see AMA’s 1999 CEJA Report: The Ethics of Cloning (PDF, 41KB). But perhaps more important is the concern that we do not fully understand the science behind the successes from animal cloning experiments. Animal cloning success (and failure)
Dolly, the sheep, was the first successfully cloned mammal (I. Wilmut et al., Nature 1997;385:810). Since 1997, gradual improvements in cloning technology have enabled researchers to generate mouse, cattle, goat, pig, deer, rabbit, cat, mule, and horse clones. While there have been no substantiated evidence for the cloning of humans, recent successes by South Korean researchers in generating stem cells from cloned human embryos (WS Hwang et al., Science 2005) have heightened concerns that this scenario is not beyond the realm of possibility. In spite of recent technological advances, animal cloning remains extremely inefficient.
For every 100 experiments only one, two, or if lucky, perhaps three appear to produce a viable offspring in surrogate mothers. While scientific explanations for these failures remain to be defined, many researchers feel they represent nothing more than technical hurdles that will one day be solved. Even then it’s survival beyond the perinatal period is unlikely. These is no reason to believe that any different outcomes will occur if and when human cloning begins. A quick lesson in cloning technology
Before going into the details of why these abnormalities are thought to occur, it is important to have a basic understanding of what in essence happens in order to clone an animal. First, a donor cell is found, which has its original DNA extracted and discarded. Next is the addition of a nucleus from the desired animal that is to be cloned. The third step involves implanting the combined cell into the animal that the donor cell was appropriated from. Understanding the abnormalities
This part of the puzzle is as yet unsolved, but theories do point us in some tangible directions. Scientists believe that the resultant cloning abnormalities are not traceable to the donor nuclei, but more likely explanations involve failures in genomic reprogramming. Genomic reprogramming in the natural way prior to embryogenesis (i.e., without cloning technology) involves a stage of development of the sperm and the egg known as gametogenesis, which can take months to years to develop a mature gamete. This process is sped up during cloning, and takes only minutes to hours. The process of configuring the exact state of the inner workings of the cell including such complex processes as methylation of the DNA may not be correct for the development of the embryo.
Methylation of DNA and other complex functions are now known to be essential to the correct functioning of each human cell, since they ultimately control gene expression. And thus successful cloning may be dependent upon the donated DNA being correctly altered to the state of an early embryo. It is thought by some cloning experts that failure of the nuclear clones to produce viable offspring is due to inappropriate reprogramming of cells, which leads to unregulated gene expression. Screening tools, do they exist?
Because of experience with animal clones, it is reasonable to conclude that future human cloning experiments will have the same high failure rates. The public has heard reassurance that the possibility of performing prenatal genetic screening exists as a way to control quality. If these groups plan on using current routine prenatal diagnosis for the detection of chromosomal and/or other genetic abnormalities, they will not detect the types of epigenetic disturbances that may occur with cloning. There are no extra tools in the developmental pipeline to help improve detection. Possible reaction to human cloning failures
Besides the public outrage that would accompany human cloning failures would in turn hinder science and genetics, research in areas such as embryonic stem cells for the repair of organs and tissues could be negatively impacted. Research is ongoing to develop reprogramming of certain cells to turn into specific tissues types, which could regenerate nerve, muscle, and other cell types, alleviating Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease among other chronic illnesses. The potential benefits of therapeutic cell cloning are enormous, and this research should not be jeopardized with human cloning activities. Legislation
Since early 1997 the United States National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) has been looking at the complex issues that surround this controversial subject. NBAC reached a conclusion in 1997, when it reported back to (Former) President Clinton, that a moratorium on human cloning would be advisable. The moratorium, which is supported by the AMA, suggests that no Federal funds be allocated for human cloning. Senator Ben Campbell (R-Co) offered a bill (April, 2001) in the Senate to bar human cloning, which will ban any attempts to clone humans, regardless of whether government or private funds are used to finance the research. If this law is violated, the penalty would be up to ten years in jail and a fine of up to $10 million. An accompanying House bill has been introduced (H.R. 1260) by Rep. Brian Kerns (R-In). White House officials have indicated that President Bush would support legislation outlawing human cloning. Bills Introduced to Congress
* H.R.2560 – Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007
* H.R.2564 – Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007
* S. 812 – Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Research Protection Act of 2007 The International Perspective:
There is as little consensus among nations as there is among Congress members when it comes to the issue of cloning. In fact, nations are so divided that the United Nations abandoned efforts to create a worldwide treaty on human cloning. Instead, in 2005 the U.N. adopted a resolution aiming to provide guidance to countries attempting to arrive at a position on cloning and stem cell research. Many nations, including the UK, China, and South Africa, have explicitly prohibited reproductive cloning while allowing research cloning. Fewer nations have explicitly prohibited research cloning, which (as of 2006) is allowed in 10 countries.
Human Cloning Theories & Further Analysis: (Answering questions why cloning should not be prohibited.) Medical breakthroughs – Human cloning technology is expected to result in several miraculous medical breakthroughs. We may be able to cure cancer if cloning leads to a better understanding of cell differentiation. Theories exist about how cloning may lead to a cure for heart attacks, a revolution in cosmetic surgery, organs for organ transplantation, and predictions abound about how cloning technology will save thousands of lives. You can read about many of the expected medical benefits in the essay “The Benefits of Human Cloning.” Medical tragedies – Many people have suffered accidental medical tragedies during their lifetimes. Read about a girl who needs a kidney, a burn victim, a girl born with cosmetic deformities, a man who needs a liver, a woman who is infertile because of cancer, and a father who lost his only son.
All these people favor cloning and want the science to proceed. To cure infertility – Infertile people are discriminated against. Men are made to feel like they are not “real men.” Women are made to feel as if they are useless barren vessels. Worse, being infertile is often not considered a “real medical problem” and insurance companies and governments are not sympathetic. The current options for infertile couples are painful, expensive, and heart-breaking. Cloning has the potential to change the world for infertile couples almost overnight. To fund research – People whose lives have been destroyed or have not been able to reproduce in this lifetime due to tragedy could arrange to have their DNA continued and fund research at the same time. For example: A boy graduates from high school at age 18. He goes to a pool party to celebrate.
He confuses the deep end and shallow end and dives head first into the pool, breaking his neck and becoming a quadriplegic. At age 19 he has his first urinary tract infection because of an indwelling urinary catheter and continues to suffer from them the rest of his life. At age 20 he comes down with herpes zoster of the trigeminal nerve. He suffers chronic unbearable pain. At age 21 he inherits a 10 million dollar trust fund. He never marries or has children. At age 40 after hearing about Dolly being a clone, he changes his will and has his DNA stored for future human cloning. His future mother will be awarded one million dollars to have him and raise him. His DNA clone will inherit a trust fund. He leaves five million to spinal cord research. He dies feeling that although he was robbed of normal life, his twin/clone will lead a better life. Bad parents – Did your parents destroy your life? Were they alcoholic, child-beating molesters? Did you never have a chance? Interestingly, human cloning allows you the opportunity to participate in choosing the parents for your clone. A Child’s right to be better than its parents – It’s been suggested that parents have a duty to see that their children have better lives than they do. This may mean making our children live longer, helping them to be resistant to cancer, heart disease, any familial diseases, and all the other problems that can be cured using what we learn from human cloning technology.
To take a step towards immortality – Human cloning essentially means taking a human being’s DNA and reversing its age back to zero. Dr. Richard Seed, one of cloning’s leading proponents, hopes that cloning will help us understand how to reverse DNA back to age 20 or whatever age we want to be. Cloning would be a step towards a fountain of youth. To make a future couple financially secure – With human cloning you could give a couple in the future both a child from your DNA and the financial assets from your lifetime to start out financially secure instead of struggling as most couples do now. Because you believe in freedom – Freedom sometimes means having tolerance for others and their beliefs. In America, some people believe gun control and some don’t. Some people believe in one religion and others in another. In a free society we know that we must tolerate some views that we don’t agree with so that we all may be free. For this reason human cloning should be allowed. To be a better parent – Human cloning can improve the parent-child relationship. Raising a clone would be like having a child with an
You would have a head start on the needs and talents of your child. We are not saying that a clone would be a carbon copy with no individuality. Our talents and desires are genetic, developmental, and environmental. We would have a head start on understanding the genetic component of a cloned child. Endangered species could be saved – Through the research leading up to human cloning we will perfect the technology to clone animals, and thus we could forever preserve endangered species, including human beings. Animals and plants could be cloned for medical purpo ses – Through the research leading up to human cloning, we should discover how to clone animals and plants to produce life-saving medications. You want your clone to lead the life that was meant to be yours – The Human Cloning Foundation has been surprised by the number of people that write to say that they would like to have a clone so that it may lead the life that was meant to be theirs.
Typically, these are people who have suffered some terrible physical or mental handicap and feel robbed of the opportunities they should have had in life. Some see this life as a sacrifice so that the life of their clone may be enriched. To have a better sense of identity – If we had some information about ourselves, perhaps we could sooner or better discovery who we are. A clone would have access to a tremendous amount of information about his or her parent that could greatly help in understanding one’s psyche and physical attributes. All of this information could provide a better sense of identity. Because so many people want cloning – Please read the dozens of essays by people from all over the world in support of human cloning and published by the Human Cloning Foundation. Religious Freedom – At least two religions, the Raelian Religion and the Summum Religion, believe in cloning as one of their tenets. Because of the special relationship that twins have – Twins often have very special relationships. While many people go through their lives never having a special relationship with another person, there are stories of twins in which they are so close they are perhaps psychically connected.
More than one person has written the Human Cloning Foundation (including a twin that feels close to her identical twin) that since a clone is virtually the equivalent of an identical twin, they suspect a very special relationship would exist between a clone and its DNA parent. Some twins describe their twin relationship as more wonderful and meaningful any other relationship in their lives. Economics – Countries that fail to research human cloning will suffer economically. The industrial revolution and Internet revolutions enriched the United States of America. Biotechnology will lead the next economic revolution. Those countries that jump in first will reap the rewards. Those who fail to begin research right away will fall behind. As an example: Japan failed to jump on the Internet bandwagon and is now playing catch-up.
Japan has banned human cloning and will probably suffer by falling behind during the biotech revolution. One day in the not too far distant future, Japan may realize its mistake. Gay couples – From one of our readers: “gay couples go through so much…not to mention all the controversy…when they decide that they are ready for a baby. People question their right to bring a child that technically isn’t related to them into a lifestyle that falls below societies views of normal…..human cloning could allow two gay men to take 23 chromosomes from each male and put them into a single egg to truly have a baby of their own. also two gay women could use this technology to conceive a child of their own using their individual 23 chromosomes.” (To our knowledge the type of reproduction described here has not yet been done, but someday it will probably be possible.) A cure for baldness – From one of our readers: “But how about the possibility of using cloning technology to get more hair on a balding scalp. For example cloning can be used to get more hair from a few sample hair follicles or grafts from the patient’s head and then grow them….later transplant the grafts where it is needed.
This will eliminate the need to do an incision in back of the scalp for donor hair and will literally give the patient MORE hair.” Because the sick will demand it – Those resisting human cloning research will probably find themselves shouted down by the sick and the maimed who desperately need such research. Human cloning technology promises to cure many or all incurable diseases and the moral weight of the dying and infirm will undoubtedly sway the politicians more than the arguments of the healthy, who often remain ignorant of the potential of human cloning, because they have never been motivated by suffering to look desperately for a cure. Hope – On the Charlie Rose television show on February 14th, 2001, three anti-cloners debated against one reporter. The anti-cloners made the case for stem cell research while alleging that cloning itself would not result in any major scientific breakthroughs.
It is likely that the anti-cloners are quite wrong. Learning the process of reprogramming, differentiation, and dedifferentiation is likely to result in just as many medical miracles as stem cell research. The two lines of research go hand in hand and should complement each other. The three anti-cloners came across as people who would destroy hope. The kept alleging that things were impossible. They reminded me of the same types of people who proclaimed that cloning was impossible years ago. Furthermore, they seemed happy and willing to take away the hope of infertile couples and others with severe diseases that human cloning technology might one day lessen their suffering or save their lives. The anti-cloners also seemed to feel that they had the ability to predict the timing and course of science advancement, which history has shown to be folly. Living on through a later-born twin – Some childless people feel that by being cloned by their later-born twin would help them or their DNA to live on in the same sense that people who have children live on.
Alright! So I think I am able to gather credible information/data regarding this research. To wrap things up, human cloning may or may not be limited to the information contained in this research. The best thing to do if you are still skeptical about this research is to conduct your own and compare it with this one, or make this your guide to better understand the human cloning topic. Such a broad topic cannot be summarize in a few pages such as this, if I’m contradicting myself there, you might as well think of it deeply and you may have the answer too, that in it’s own way, really, human cloning may be explained as simply as process of creating copies of actual human beings or as complex as the information presented. Recommendation/Conclusion:
This is where I get to share to you my own views, opinions, analysis, criticisms, and other things required to form an excellent conclusion to this brilliant topic. “Human Cloning” had really piqued my interest and in some way, I cannot have enough of it for myself. My recommendation is that, if you’re not satisfied with this, please do make yourself comfortable by conducting your own research, and making your own research paper about the topic.
To make this brief, I really am a skeptic so I am not easily sucked into the gravity or concreteness of the information/data I have acquired. I mean, I do not easily decide whether something should be approved or not. Being a student of course, is both advantageous and disadvantageous in understanding the concept of this topic. But I’m not saying that my understanding is limited only in a short extent. What I mean, is that I cannot give a definite answer to the question I am about to leave. Instead, I can only share to you my ideas about the topic, which, I already did by discussing to you this research in both narrative and informative sort of way.
Therefore, I have reached the conclusion that the understanding of the topic is still unequivocally relative to whoever reads this. I choose to let the sense of “conclusion” flow through the minds of the readers, thus making this conclusion, “conclusive” based on the understanding of each people who read this research paper of mind. Let me leave to you my final question – “to clone? Or not to clone?”