Human Cloning and Its Ethical Considerations Any discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply a matter of scientific inquiry, it is a matter of morality and spirituality as well... Each human life is unique, born of a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science... - President Clinton. Cloning is the production of one or more copies of an individual being. It had its beginnings in Germany in 1938 when Han Spe mann proposed and conducted a fantastical experiment in which he transferred a nucleus from a salamander embryo to create an identical twin. From that point on, scientists were hooked.
Experiments continued; the most recent and provocative one being the cloning of a sheep named Dolly. This experiment gave rise to ideas that cloning humans is possible. This issue has become on eof the most highly controversial ones in the history of mankind. To many it has become hope for a better future and for others, a direct challenge of their morality and belief system. Taking into account the complexity of the human genome and the struggle involving two-hundred and seventy attempts to clone dolly, human clones may be farther off than many think.
Almost everyone agrees though, that now is the time to decide if the possible pros outweigh the cons, ethical and scientific. The dangers of human cloning do present problem enough to regulate the procedure. The basic cloning procedure with potential for cloning humans is called somatic cloning. In short, it involves taking a nucleus from a mature cell and inserting it in the place of a nucleus in an egg cell.
the egg which now houses DNA from the existing individual is implanted into a surrogate mother to develop. Fetal Cells have codes that enable them to develop into every type of cell contained in the body such as those that make up organs. After the fetus develops though, the various cells become specialized and their ability to develop into other types of cells i lost. Somatic cloning, as done with Dolly the sheep, has proven that cells ability to resemble the original genetic code impossible (Human Cloning n. pag). A second type of procedure, embryonic cloning, involves taking a fertilized egg atan early stage of development and dividing it.
Two or more genetically identical individuals can be produced. This procedure is thought to be more likely for use in cloning humans because of the complexity of the human genome. It does not involve turning on genes as in somatic cloning (Human cloning n. pag). These procedure both produce genetically identical individuals. The possibilities of these human cloning procedure are phenomenal.
The potential application and dangers of the practice are all still theoretical but possible. Many argue that the most important result of the human cloning research is the eventual development of new scientific discoveries. The main point that advocates of human cloning research stress is that limiting or banning the efforts would stifle any potential for the advancement of knowledge in some key areas. One of these areas of research with he possibility of advancement is infertility. This possibility is based on the idea that cloning will give scientists insight into the function of genes and the embryonic cell and develop a better understanding of why and how things can go wrong during development (H.
C. should I tBe Done n. pag). Another example of potential knowledge gained from cloning comes again from understanding how to turn on and off the genes in a human cell. Theoretically, controlling these genes could reveal the secret of stopping cancer which is basicallyuncontrollable cell division (Religious and Ethical Aspects n. pag.
). There are also claims for more specific applications of human cloning. One proposition is for the production of spare organs instead of having organ donors. Scientists could take cell samples from any part of the body and inject them into a human egg. The egg would be stopped at a certain point early in development and manipulated by certain proteins to turnon the specific genes necessary tot transform the cell into one that will develop into the type they need (marrow, liver, kidney, etc. ) (Berkeley 59).
Although there is no proof that such a procedure can be performed on the cells of a human, similar procedures have already been done on other mammals. the type of uses that can be seen as positive but seem to be the most controversial are those that involve the cloning of entire humans. Those in favor claim that it is another way to combat infertility. many advocates a remembers of the gay community who are looking for new way for gay couples to have children (Religious and Ethical Aspects n. pag. ).
Along with the hopes for a good outcome of the development of science come the inevitable dangers and abuses. The diversity of the human reach has driven evolution by introducing mutations that enable survival. by, cloning on a large scale, the human race may become de-diversified. In this state, the human race may become particularly vulnerable to a certain strain of disease and be wiped out (Kass 71).
In the wrong hands, human cloning presents many problems. Like Nazi Germany, a super human race could slowly develop. If sexual orientation is a genetically determined trait, the gay community could be eventually developed into a massive community or totally annihilated (Cooke 219). many fear that in the hands of a powerful dictator, super intelligent with superhuman strength could develop and take over.
Perhaps even more controversial are the ethical considerations of human cloning. Assuming that scientists were able to clone human beings, what concerns might there be about the welfare of clones Some opponents of cloning believe that such individuals would be morally wronged (Cooke 118). The right to an open future may be compromised if a child is expected to live up to the expectations that he be as impressive as his or her adult twin. From a religious aspect, many wonder if man is overstepping a limit. Stepping too close to the creator or playing God causes much concern in the religious community (Human Cloning n. pag).
Another problem that some religious leaders have with human cloning is the replication of a soul. The clone s genes, although identical, do not produce a soul which many would argue that God can only create. The uniqueness of ones soul and body would be jeopardized (Kass 56). When cloning to screen against undesirable traits, the question arises; who determines what is normal or abnormal Many argue that it cannot be determined. Like any controversy that deals with ethical concern, it is hard to determine, on a large base, what is not ethical (Bailey n. pag).
Another type of risks that may be potentially associated with human cloning is the effect that it may have on society. Problems from this perspective deal mainly with ideas of the depletion of diversity from a racial point of view. Genes that code for traits that determine appearance could be manipulated to enhance a race with particular desire to extremes (Berkeley 79). If a time were to come that humans were cloning this readily, there would always be some groups that choose not to involve themselves with it. These groups may be viewed as lesser people and such extreme racism may come into place that form of slavery may develop (Shafer n.
pag). If human cloning were not to become quite that large, there still arise problems forthe people who choose not clone themselves to perfection. In order to clone humans to perfection, scientist first have to understand the human genome (Human Cloning n. pag). In short, determine what each gene codes for. With this understanding, it can be determined what traits or weaknesses that someone s genetic code has.
The people who choose to have children naturally without any type of genetic engineering such as cloning may be subject to privacy issues. Insurance companies argue that they should be able to have this information (Bailey n. pag). The likelihood of human cloning comes from ideas of those who foresee manywonderous prospects for the procedure. Most of the medical procedures envisioned by those who wish to pioneer the science of human cloning involve the cloning of specific types of cells and implanting them into the body. Advocates imply that there would no longer be a need for organ donors (H.
C. Should It be Done n. pag). The reason that there is no way to generate specific types of cells from other cells in the body is that scientists must first, again find which genes determine which traits, and more importantly how to turn off the genes they do not want expressed, and turn on they ones they do. This is possible because each cell of the body has exactly the same DNA content (Horse 215). The cells of an organ though express certain parts traits coded by the DNA.
The hope is that with the understanding of how to switch genes on and off, scientists could persuade the code to produce healthy cells that develop for implanting back into the body (Religious and Ethical Aspects n. pag). The most powerful arguement for this type of research and development comes in hope that understanding how to switch the genes on and off will lead to a better way to control or even cure cancer which is basicallyuncontrollable cell division (Merton's 97). Researchers in the area of infertility are also have hope that research in cloning will give a better understanding of problems for infertile couples. Supporters combat the arguments that human cloning is unnatural by siting mother nature and natural cloning. One in every seventy-five births are currently clones (Etzioni 13).
Identical twins have exactly the same DNA. The point made is that there should be no fear of human clones because they naturally occur. The further understanding that may come as a result of cloning is a large factor in the argument against regulation or outlawing cloning research. Regulation of the any area of scientific research is always controversial.
Currently in the United States there is already a group that has been created to watch over the cloning community and debate the scientific and ethical dangers all types of genetic engineering (the National Bio-Ethics Advisory Commision). Their advice advice lead President Clinton to ask researchers to stop progress until a more final determination onthe dangers is made (Bailey n. pag). Senator Christopher bond has though introduced a bill to ban federal funding of cloning saying this type of re serach on humans is morally reprehensible. Cloning reseach and procedures are banned in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany (Shafer n. pag).
According to a 1997 CNN pool, eighty-nine percent believe that human cloning is unacceptable and seventy-four percent believe that it is against God s will. At this point itis obvious that the effects of human cloning are all speculation and some even seem a bit fantastical and dreamy. As seen in the poll though, people feel that human cloning has many problems to be dealt with. Cloning challenges many religious beliefs and for some implies an attempt at playing God. It also may put the human race in a succeptableposition for harm.
At the same time it builds follows the human drive for progress by offering the possibility of curing cancer and replacing bad tissues in the body. Human cloning also presents another area where human society as a whole must make a decision where to limit what can be done. Like nuclear weapons, human cloning presents potential danger and possibility where can does some mean necessarily mean ought. Because human cloning in its purest form is meant to be good, it s potential must be harnessed and driven in that direction and steered away from the other. Therefore, human cloning presents dangers enough to regulate it..