Human cloning may no longer be a thing of the far-off future. A few years ago, the world’s first genetically modified human babies were born in the United States after having received genetic treatment. The women who were part of this human baby experiment had the genes of their eggs altered with some foreign genes before they were fertilized.
Human Cloning Ethics
The ethics of human cloning and human genetic engineering involve a lot of sensitive topics. The ethical issues of genetically modified organism (GMO) have been talked about for decades and are becoming well-known. However, the ethical issues of human cloning aren’t being discussed as much as they should be.
Most people agree that human cloning isn’t morally and ethically acceptable due to religious issues and health concerns. The process of cloning organisms has always create unforeseen and serious consequences. An example of these consequences is the premature death of the first cloned sheep named Dolly. Dolly suffered a lot of health problems, including but not limited to DNA degradation, lung disease, arthritis and premature aging. Dolly’s health problems got so severe that scientists had to end her life at the age of 6.
The ethics of human cloning need to be discussed out in the open for the public to hear, because if human cloning becomes widely practiced, it will be a lot harder to solve the ethical issues of human cloning. If these ethical issues aren’t taken seriously, unforeseen consequences could occur that could endanger the integrity of the human race. Some of these consequences will involve genetic mutation and genetic contamination due to interbreeding.
What is Human Cloning?
Before going into the pros and cons of human cloning, let us quickly explore what human cloning is. According to the American Medical Association, cloning is defined as, “the production of genetically identical organisms via somatic cell nuclear transfer.” The genetically modified babies that I mentioned earlier weren’t exact genetic replicas of another human being, because they were created using genetic manipulation, a cousin of full-blown cloning. However, by allowing genetic engineering in human babies to occur, we are only a few steps away from cloning humans in large numbers.
Cloning involves the process of nuclear transplantation. During this process, the nucleus of a fertilized organism’s egg is replaced by a nucleus of an organism’s cell. If the procedure is successful, the fertilized egg will grow into an identical copy of that organism. In human cloning, the process is more complicated due to the complex nature of human DNA.
Cloning experiments have provoked intense debate and controversy, but what are the pros and cons of human cloning?
The Pros of Human Cloning
- Some doctors and scientists believe that human cloning can benefit people who have organ problems. For instance, genetic manipulation could help regrow damaged cells that could be used to treat a multitude of sicknesses and injuries. They could even theoretically grow a new organ to replacement a damaged organ.
- People who have problems with infertility can use human cloning to produce a baby with the same DNA as them.
- Using cloned human bodies instead of animals for experiments can help researchers and scientists find cures for health conditions and disease more effectively.
The Cons of Human Cloning
- Many people believe human cloning is simply unethical and could have far reaching consequences on the human race as a whole. The argument is that opening up genetic cloning could give rise to selective procreation, whereby only babies with a certain genetic makeup are created. Others believe it could reduce genetic variation, which could lead to an increased susceptibility to certain diseases.
- The technology used for cloning is still in its early stage of development and therefore it could cause a lot of problems. For example, during the process of cloning Dolly, the famous cloned sheep, nearly 300 of her eggs were used and only 9 of them successfully induced pregnancy. Out of these 9 eggs only one sole cloned sheep was successfully born. This suggests that scientists still have a lot of learning to do before they can clone humans.
- When it comes to the manipulation of genes, unforeseen consequences usually occur. These unforeseen consequences can disrupt the natural functions of the human DNA, causing health problems.
- Criminals could use human cloning to get away with crimes or exploit human cloning for unethical business practices. They could make money by using cloned humans as slaves, organ donors or to commit crimes on their behalf.
Is Human Cloning Going on Right Now?
Some whistleblowers who have worked in certain secret government projects claim that human cloning has been going on for decades and cloned humans are already walking on the streets of certain places in the world. Are there any facts to back up these claims? Unfortunately, I haven’t found any concrete evidence to prove that there are cloned humans walking around on public streets. However, if these claims are true, then we have some serious ethical issues of human cloning that need to be resolved before human cloning grows out of control.
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This articles was written by PL and Kate.