(Shih-Yi is a sophomore in high school)
What does cloning have to do with you? You might think that cloning cannot affect you, but think again. Human cloning could save the lives of you and your loved-ones in ways one could not even begin to imagine. “This new technology heralds a new era of unparalleled advancement in medicine if people will release their fears and let the benefits begin” (Human Cloning Foundation (HCF) 1). The process of cloning a human being sounds more complicated than one would think. The procedure starts by removing DNA from the egg of a female, replacing that with genetic material from the person being cloned, initiating the development of the embryo, and finally, placing the embryo into a womb (Reason Magazine (RM) 1). With the ability of cloning humans, couples who had no hope for having children of their own, are able to reproduce, there would be cures to countless lethal diseases, and myriad lives would be saved from what seemed like impossible transplants. Human cloning needs to be further researched and experimented upon due to the overwhelming benefits and opportunities it brings forth for the human race.
After human cloning is perfected, there are unimaginable advancements that would be made possible in the medical field. Infertile couples would be able to generate their own children (HCF 1). Rather than using sperm and eggs from total strangers, the couple could produce their own child with qualities like themselves. Even though the child would be produced from cloning, it would become a unique individual and differ from the parent (RM 1). Another reason a couple would wish to have a cloned child is because they want to replace a child that past away before their time. Some parents live in mourning for years and years before they can come to accept the loss of their beloved child. Not one more parent will have to go through that, if cloning is still progressing. Similarly, a present child might be in serious need of some sort of transplant, which could be donated by the generated child (Herbert 1). Cloning would give hope to all infertile couples that were not blessed with the privilege of having their own children.
Furthermore, an additional benefit to the medical field is the numerous transplants people would be able to have due to cloning. With human cloning available, there is no ceasing the duplicating of just the necessary organs people are depending on. There would be a much larger chance of success for the transplants, too: “With cloning, it may be possible to add human genes encoding a clotting factor, hormone, or other useful protein to thousands of cells in culture rather than inject such genes into a much smaller number of fertilized eggs (Nature Genetics (NG) 2). It would be feasible to clone livers and kidneys for the people with failure in that category (HCF 1). Cloning could end waiting lists and risk factors for all current transplants, thus, providing relief for almost anyone with or without organ failures.
Other than that, the re-growth of cells and nerves can also help people with cystic fibrosis and spinal cord injuries (HCF 1). “Human cloning technology could be used to reverse heart attacks. Scientists believe that they may be able to treat heart attack victims by cloning their healthy heart cells and injecting them into areas of the heart that have been damaged” (1). Especially with heart disease as the number one killer in the United States and many other industrialized countries, cloning would be able to save millions of lives (1). Embryonic stem cells can be grown to create “grafts of brand-new skin” for burn victims, brain cells for the brain damaged, spinal cord cells for quadriplegics and paraplegics, and sufferers of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes (Nash 2). As you can see, many handicapped people would be able to grow free of their disability. This could give them a fair chance at life again.
Equally importantly would be the cures that cloning would make possible. If scientists learned how to swap cells, there could be a possibility of a cure for cancer (HCF 1). Cancer strikes millions of people throughout the world; a cure would mean no more chemotherapy or other painful and discomforting treatments. Moreover, women at high risk of Down’s Syndrome could avoid it with cloning (1). There can also be a test or cure for all genetic diseases once scientists improve their knowledge of cloning (1). Tay-Sachs disease could be cured: “Sex linked genetic disorders could be prevented by using cloning to ensure the sex of a baby and possibly could be cured” (1). Nearly all newborns will be free of Tay-Sachs disease because the flawed gene could be replaced with one of normal DNA (Nash 1). All of these terrible diseases and disorders can be remedied by the further testing of cloning. Cloning would be a medical miracle to billions and billions, if not more.
With all these outstanding benefits, is cloning safe? There is always a risk in something as new and innovative as this. But who really decides how much risk a mother would take for her baby or baby-to-be (RM 2)? The mother should at least have a choice of what her options are. She is the only one who decides if she is inclined to take the chance. In addition, comparing cloning to fertility drugs, the drugs are still legal even though they cause a greater risk of miscarriages and birth defects (3). The safety issue completely depends on the person willing to take the chance, but that person should be given all the conceivable options. Still, there are also animal testing for products taking place that are not yet safe, but are allowed to be experimented on. Cloning should have the same chance all the other current and beneficial studies have. “There’s no evidence yet that it’s harmful” (Herbert 5).
Are clones “Xerox copies” of the original? The answer to this question is no: “Identical genes don’t produce identical people” (Herbert 2). Nevertheless, a cloned child would look like the original, but would have a different personality (2). “Even if humans were cloned, they would merely look like each other, not be exact copies” (NG 33). “If fact, twins are more alike than clones would be” (Herbert 2). The biological reason for this is that the clone’s cells would have mitochondria from the egg donor, rather than the nucleus donor (2). Clones would only become an appearance substitute. They would still have a mind of their own.
Are clones immortal? Clones would not be able to live forever. Both humans and clones die with age or unexpectedly (Herbert 5). Which means that cloning could not be used by criminals or anyone with evil plots to elongate their lives for a corrupt purpose. Would it be possible to clone the dead? It could be likely, “if the body is still fresh” (2). In order to clone, the “donor cell must have an intact membrane around its DNA” (2). The membrane and the DNA both start to fall apart after death (2). But the idea of cloning the dead is completely achievable, considering the dead has only been deceased for a certain amount of time. Meaning an innocent child, who was just hit by a drunk driver and killed, would be able to be cloned to life again. That is just one of the various ways in which human cloning is a technological phenomenon that helps the human kind.
Without a doubt, human cloning has an enormous promise for benefiting humans. Some people may have a disorder they have had since birth and want to know how it feels to live like everyone else, others may be in desperate need of a spare organ, and a couple may want a baby they have always dreamed of. All of these scenarios can result with a happy ending, if the study of cloning is continued. As you can see, there are far more benefits of cloning then there are of risks. If it were banned, it would prevent exploration, which would stunt the experiments needed to make cloning safer and productive (RM 2). The neglect of this technology could result in setbacks for other incredible discoveries. Human cloning has such enormous potential benefits, “it would be unethical not to continue this line of research” (Nash 2). There is just an infinite amount of people that would suffer less and lead a better life due to the outcome of cloning. Why should another child die from leukemia if and when the technology is permitted, a cure would be found in a few years time (HCF 1)? There is already far too much suffering in this world, with the help of this modernistic advantage, children and adults everywhere would have a long and prosperous life.
Herbert, Wray. “The World After Cloning.” U.S. News of World Report. 10 March 1997: 59-64. SIRS Researcher. CD-Rom. SIRS, Inc. Spring 1998.
Human Cloning Foundation. “Benefits of Human Cloning.” Human Cloning Foundation. 1998. Online. Available: http://www.humancloning.org/benefits.htm. 7 Dec. 1998.
Nash, J. Madeleine. “The Case For Cloning.” Time.com. 9 Feb. 1998: 2 pgs. Online. Available: http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/1998/dom/980209/science.the_case_for_clo26.html. 13 Dec. 1998.
Nature Genetics. “Cloning Research Could Be Beneficial to Humans.” Is human cloning ethical? 1998.
Reason Magazine. “Should Cloning Be Banned?” Reason Magazine 30 June 1998: 2 pgs. Online. Available: http://www.reason.com/biclone.html. 4 Dec 1998.
About the Human Cloning Foundation