Introduction to Cloning
Cloning is the process of
creating genetically identical individuals which includes both natural (e.g.
bacteria via asexual reproduction or identical twins) and artificial forms
Potential applications in
medicine and agriculture
Great Britain is the only country
that cloning can be done, but only for medical purposes
All other countries ban the
practice of human cloning
The company CLONAID, claims to
have successfully cloned humans.The first mammal to ever be successfully cloned
was Dolly the sheep in 1996
Human cloning seen in Aldous
Huxley’s novel Brave New World
Benefits to Cloning
Cloning stem cells:
researchers are looking at cloning as a way to create stem cells that are
genetically identical to an individual. These cells could then be used for
medical purposes, possibly even for growing whole organs, prevents tissue
cells cloned from someone with a disease could be grown in culture and studied
to help researchers understand the disease and develop treatments.
2013, scientists at Oregon Health and Science University were the first to use
cloning techniques to successfully create human embryonic stem cells. The donor
DNA came from an 8-month-old with a rare genetic disease.
Couples who are not able to naturally
conceive can clone themselves to have a biological child
the possibility for gay or lesbian couples to have a child that contains both
passing on a deleterious gene that runs in the family
Prevents extinction of species
wild species have been cloned already, including two relatives of cattle called
the guar and the banteng, mouflon sheep, deer, bison, and coyotes. However,
some experts are skeptical that cloning can help a species recover. One big
challenge endangered species face is the loss of genetic diversity, and cloning
does nothing to address this problem. When a species has high genetic
diversity, there is a better chance that some individuals would have genetic
variations that could help them survive an environmental challenge such as an
Implications of Cloning
The prospect of cloning humans is
highly controversial, and it raises a number of ethical, legal, and social
challenges that need to be considered.
Reproductive cloning—cloning for
the purpose of making a human baby—is largely seen as immoral by
scientists and lawmakers. Supporters see it as a possible solution to
infertility problems. Some even imagine making clones of geniuses, whose work
could advance society. Far-fetched views describe farms filled with clones
whose organs are harvested for transplantation—a truly horrific idea. (As seen
in the 2005 Science Fiction film The Island by Michael Bay)
For now, risks and technical
challenges—as well as laws that make it illegal—will probably keep human
reproductive cloning from becoming a reality. Even though many species have
been cloned successfully, the process is still technically difficult and
inefficient. The success rate in cloning is quite low: most embryos fail to
develop, and many pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Cell mutation is a very real
possibility with genetic cloning. This may result in new and more aggressive
genetic disease to begin within the human race, creating a lot of problems.
Many people believe that an event like this will be the demise of civilization.
Cloned humans likely to be viewed
as lesser citizens. This might bring about an entirely new breed of racism and
prejudice to the world that could cause devastating social divides.
such as human cloning have in particular raised our awareness of the profound
ethical and moral issues we face. If, for example, we were to reengineer
ourselves into several separate and unequal species using the power of genetic
engineering, then we would threaten the notion of equality that is the very
cornerstone of our democracy.