Kevin, a ninth grader, wrote the essay below as part of a science fair project on the pros and cons of cloning.  Kevin is a Regional Arts Drama Student, who lives near Toronto, Ontario.  He enjoys web page design, sports, and films.  He hopes to enter either the film industry to to study law.

 Even the idea of a human clone sounds intriguing. The concept of having someone similar to you, both physically and somewhat emotionally, is mind blowing. While the first human clone is no doubt years away, the fact remains that this is an inevitable step for mankind. The medical world would benefit enormously from cloning, including the possible ability to turn cells on and off. This would allow cancer cells to be turned on and off, therefore defeating this disease.

The procedure is still questionable, but we will not know if we choose not to proceed with scientific research into human cloning. The reason many scientists and most individuals feel concerned about cloning, is the uncertainty that comes with it.

Cloning is considered by many to be both unethical and immoral. The bulk of these concerns are inaccurate thoughts based on misleading information given to the public. A human clone would not be an exact copy of the person cloned, but closer to being a younger identical twin. Twins are different individual people in all aspects, biologically, morally, and most importantly legally.

Many countries’ leaders feel that cloning should not happen. After the infamous cloning of Dolly twenty months ago, countries scrambled together enough negativity to ban the research. On March 4, 1997, U.S President Bill Clinton banned the use of federal funds for cloning research within his country. He blasted the concept as “raising deep concerns about faith and humanity.” President Clinton later added that any attempts at cloning were “profoundly troubling….. Cloning humans is untested, unsafe, and above all else, morally unacceptable.” Britain and other countries followed Clinton’s lead by adding similar bans.

President Clinton shares the opinion of the majority, which is avoiding cloning and literally placing the concept on “the back burner.” Another common excuse used, mostly by religious people, is that cloning is against God’s plan. Of course, we are uncertain what God would think of this, but birth control and transplants are legal, which might be considered “against God’s plan.”

The banning of human cloning research in America does not prevent it from occurring in other countries, including Canada. The ban is a step backwards for America, when a step forward can take place. The ban is virtually ineffective, because the technology used in human cloning research does not require huge, university-sized labs. An underground industry would be very easy to keep secret; illegal research may be occurring in America this very second. Dr. Richard Seed, a well-known embryologist, plans to continue his research outside of the United States, likely in Mexico.

The list of medical benefits is, in a word, amazing. Clones can be born to deliver spare organ parts to a dying patient. This, in turn, can save many lives. Various fertility benefits can become possible, including helping barren couples or couples suffering from the loss of a child. A rarely mentioned benefit is the impact that cloning can have on improving ourselves. By means of new research, information about genes and hormones can be gained, and eventually lead to people having the ability to choose individual characteristics that their children will have

Studies of human disease can be enhanced through human cloning. In the future, we may be able to allow the re-creation of skin tissues. If the proper funding is placed into human cloning research, we may see the re-creation of human organs. Although human cloning is a reality, keep in mind that when the sheep Dolly was created, she was the only successful clone out of 277 embryos.

With all these positives, why is President Clinton and a large portion of the population still concerned about human cloning? They’re scared because it’s unfamiliar territory and an unexplored area. There is absolutely no reason why we should ban a potential breakthrough for all of mankind simply because it’s not completely safe.

We should combine the abilities of the best scientists in this field to accurately assess the potential of human cloning. In the right hands, this technology can be vastly beneficial to all, helping cure diseases, extend life spans, and creating a new world. We can control human cloning. For the successful advancements in human cloning to occur, we must create regulations. First, we must know who is doing this and where. We should know when you begin your research, and given regular updates on what’s happening. We don’t want to turn on the news and see a man with a clone to his left, which would cause both public panic and concern.

When we come to the day when human clones do exist, a new set of regulations must come into place for cloning to succeed. It’s interesting to note the dates mentioned as to when human clones will exist. Many eager scientists have used the year 2005 as a date, but many optimistic scientists believe a more realistic date of from 15 to 50 years from now. Whenever that day arrives, these primary regulations should be considered. First, any clone should be given the exact same rights as a naturally born human, a way of enforcing this is by attempting to keep quiet about who has been cloned.

Another potential misuse of this technology is known as “The Hitler effect”, in which we ask if we could control another one or one hundred Hitlers in today’s nuclear age. This leads us to our second possible regulation, the prohibiting of convicted felons using this technology. If a serial killer gained access to cloning, it’s easy to see what could happen. Therefore cloning can only succeed if handled carefully.

There are many myths, most generated by supporters of the banning of human cloning. The first is that humans will be cloned to be killed. This valid concern needs to be addressed. It is the opinion of the mainstream that clones will be treated just like other humans, but will be there for surgery if needed. If you were a clone and had the opportunity to save another’s life by donating your blood/extra organ, you would do it, right? I certainly would.

Another myth is that if someone’s liver fails, you will need a complete clone to be created. This is not the case. Many believe that with this technology, you will be able to clone individual organs without generating an entirely new person. One of the first benefits to come from cloning is supposed to be the ability to clone bone marrow for people suffering from leukemia.

As you can see, the benefits of human cloning contain some valid points. A possible cure for cancer and the ability to clone individual organs were enough to convince me to support this side of the argument. I sincerely hope this has opened your mind into the reality of human cloning. It has the potential to save your life, expand your life span, and assist in various birth defects. Don’t be shy and afraid, like many who follow the mainstream negativity surrounding human cloning. Let’s face it, cloning will eventually happen; it’s a reality. I support human cloning completely, because, heck, it may save my life.

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