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Cloning of Humans
by Pooja Chopra Bookmark and Share
 

Can we do this, and should we?

Frankenstein’s monster was Hollywood’s version of what would happen if knowledge about manufacturing life landed in the wrong hands. When people saw Jurassic park and the idea of cloning dinosaurs from DNA found in mosquitoes, I do not think that they were thinking about the possibility of cloning humans just a few years later.

Cloning humans has recently become a possibility that seems much more feasible today than it was twenty years ago. Cloning is a method that involves the production of a group of cells or organisms that all derive from a single individual. It is not known when or how cloning humans really became a possibility, but it is known that there are two possible ways that we can clone humans. The first way involves splitting an embryo into several halves and creating many new individuals from the embryo. The second method of cloning a human involves taking cells from an already existing human being and cloning them, in turn, creating other individuals that are identical to that particular person. Keeping these 2 methods in mind, two very important questions arise on the technological and ethical sides of this issue.

Can we do this, and should we?

First a sheep was cloned, now it could to be a HUMAN BEING! Sheep embryos have some characteristics that make cloning them much easier than cloning human embryos. Even with these better odds, over 270 attempts were needed before DOLLY (the only survival of the cloned sheep) was born in Scotland in 1996. Many fetal lambs that were carried to the term were born with health problems, including malformed kidneys, and all but Dolly subsequently died prematurely.

There have been many controversies related to cloning, but the overall possibility of cloning humans is one that we should accept as a possible reality for the future. Arguments have risen both for and against the cloning of humans.

I will be discussing some of the arguments that have originated from this controversial issue. Some arguments in favor of human cloning include the fact that cloned human embryos would make research into genetics and diseases caused by defects in the genes, and their treatments or prevention, much easier and cheaper.

Cloning embryos could also facilitate the process of in-vitro fertilization, since the collection and replacement of ova is painful and traumatic and can be unsuccessful. Cloning could be a better process for treating infertility in the sense that it can eliminate health problems with the child from the beginning.

Barbara of Time magazine, writes, "Any normal species would be delighted at the prospect of cloning. No more nasty surprises like sickle cell or Down syndrome - just batch after batch of high grade, and genetically speaking immortal offspring!"

Cloning from an already existing human will provide the opportunity for parents to pick their "ideal" child. They will be able to pick out every aspect of their child and make sure that it is perfect before they decide to have it.

The creation of Dolly opened up remarkable prospects for repairing tissues and organs, because cloning proved that an adult cell that has been specialized to do a particular job - say, to be liver or blood unit - can "unlearn" its role and be reprogrammed to do something different. For example, in the future cloning might allow a cancer patient whose bone marrow has been wiped out by radiation to be treated with bone marrow grown from another cell of his own body, this process is not possible right now.

In contrast to some of the religious leaders, Muslim philosophers and leaders testified before the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (commission that sets rules and standards for the subjects relating ethics and religion) they feel that embryo and cloning research might provide discoveries that would lead to an appropriate way to counter infertility.

The first controversy is whether or not the humans should be cloned?

Cloning might deeply affect the issue of human identity. Would the newly created person possess his or her own personality? According to theologian Nigel Cameron, "It would be perhaps the worst thing we have ever thought of in the maltreatment of our species". Cameron says, it would be a kind of new slave class… you would have human beings who were made by human beings for their purposes".

We may not object to a sheep clone that has been genetically modified to produce more wool, but would a person be comfortable with a human whose genetic material has been changed according to someone’s idea?

Another argument against cloning is that even if it will be accepted by the society in large, the cost of cloning would be so high that the option will not be available to all. Only the wealthy people would be able to take advantage of it. This achievement will remain as the pleasure of the high societies giving them the opportunity of creating clones of their own!

A Time magazine poll (March 10, 1997) reported that 74% of those asked believe it is against God’s will to clone human beings. 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.

The religious prospective regarding the issue.

The most common ethical and moral arguments against human cloning seem to originate from religious prospective. These arguments have just not been made only by the religious philosophers but also politicians and scientists who sympathize with religion.

Religious philosophies teach us that human life is unique and special. It is and should be controlled by the almighty - God. Many religious believe in the existence of human soul. Will it be possible to clone the soul? What, if possible, will this mean? If only a person is cloned and not its soul, what will this mean? According to an article found "What Christians and Jews believe is that humans are made in the image of God. The greater the degree to which we take control of the process, the more we seek to thwart the power of God. It’s hard to see cloning as something other than the most dramatic attempt to play God" .

Should human cloning be legal?

That is another controversy regarding the human cloning. Currently human cloning is illegal in England and Norway but not in the US. Congress each year bans federal funds for such work. But this research is legal if financed privately. The worry among scientists is that Congress, when it considers banning cloning for baby making, will not be able to resist banning its use in private embryo research as well. However, in the US, federal, but not private, funds are prohibited from being used to create human embryos (1994). In addition, on March 1994, President Clinton has imposed a moratorium on human cloning research in federally funded program.

As Chicago based Physicist, Richard Seed who plans to open a clinic to produce a human baby stated in one of his interviews, "If not me, then someone else. If not now, then later. If not here, then somewhere else. A political group can only impede, it cannot stop." It is also believed that cloning can be justified as a remarkable achievement in the reproductive history, a choice of freedom, a choice that should be not be limited by legislation.

Until today, cloning humans has always been an idea thought of as something that could be found in fiction novel and movies, but never as a reality that society could actually experience.

Every day government spends money as fast as McDonald’s hamburgers. In my opinion this fascinating discovery should be ultimately used in humans, maybe only to understand our system better but not to clone people. It is an unthinkable for an individual wanting to see him/herself reflected in another being. There is no one in the world worth cloning! Every child comes with the message that god has not been yet discouraged with man, then who are human beings to interfere with his powers!

1-Sep-1999
More by :  Pooja Chopra
 
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