Lishing is a sophomore in high school and wrote this excellent essay for biology class.
Should cloning for human benefits or even human cloning itself be allowed in society today? That is a question we must ask ourselves. Recently, less than two years ago, an event in genetic history changed our perspective of what we know as “Reproduction” and added to our conscience a new element to the study of Biology. This event immediately caught my interest and intrigued me. It was the birth of a unique sheep named Dolly. Dolly was a clone sheep born on February 12th 1997 (Henderson, pg. 2). Dolly’s existence stuck like super glue onto my mind and refused to let go. I started pondering the true potential of cloning and how it could affect mankind. I considered the possibility of human cloning, the advantages and the disadvantages. Ever since the birth of a sheep called Dolly, a question that ceased to exist now lingers in my mind and the mind of many: Should human cloning be a part of our society?
In order to debate the potential of human cloning, we must first consider how it ties in to certain aspects of human society. One of these aspects is determining how human cloning will affect scientific research. The continuation of human cloning and its related actions could drastically increase our scientific knowledge of genetics and lead us to new discoveries concerning the human body and related issues.
If human cloning were to undergo technological advances, the study of health would also drastically improve. Cloning would provide better research capabilities for finding cures to many present-day diseases.
In society today, public opinion about human cloning is divided. The supporters for human cloning argue that human cloning should be allowed, as the research may have to potential to eliminate many of the world’s problems such as animal extinction and can also benefit mankind in many ways. On the other hand, the opposers of human cloning say that cloning is unethical and that we should not be defying the very foundation of natural creation.
As with any new procedure or technology, the effect of human cloning on our futures is not known. However, if legalized, cloning will definitely increase our options in genetic makeover and personal appearance.
The first attempts at artificial cloning were started as early as the beginning of this century. The first implantation of a nucleus into an egg cell occurred in 1952 by Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King in Philadelphia. Briggs and King transferred the nuclei of Leopard Frog’s eggs (Eibert, pg.23). However, the cloning attempt was unsuccessful and the egg cells did not develop. Successful nuclear transfer of the embryo cells did not occur until the 1970’s, when a scientist named John Gurdon repeated Briggs/Kings’s frog implantation. The oocytes of the frogs successfully developed into tadpoles. Major breakthroughs in cloning technology came in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In 1994, Scottish scientists Dr. Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell cloned “Megan and Morag”, the world’s first cloned sheep. Soon afterwards, Dolly was also cloned. Presently, scientists who believe that cloning should be allowed are striving to perfect nuclear transfer technology in hope of harnessing its many advantages. There are, of course, other scientists who are against cloning.
Public opinion on cloning is still vastly divided. Many religious groups are against cloning because they feel that it is wrong to mimic natural creation. They believe we should not take the work of god into our own hands. Others feel very strongly that human cloning is immoral and unethical because human cloning could destroy our age-old concept of “father”and “mother”. If an offspring is cloned from a parent, the offspring would no longer actually share genetic traits, or alleles from both parents. Rather the offspring would be identical to that one parent from which it was cloned (Kass, pg. 12). I, on the other hand, believe that cloning should proceed into the future. I simply think that the advantages of human cloning far outweigh the disadvantages. Some advantages to human cloning include (Hawley, pg. 2):
- Providing better research capabilities to find cures to many present diseases
- Bringing back friends or relatives who have passed away by cloning an identical copy
- Providing children for women who are single and do not wish to have artificial insemination
- The choice of physical characteristics (who to look like)
Some people say that there are disadvantages such as:
- Cloning is unethical
- Cloning reduces genetic diversity
- Human cloning could produce another “Hitler”, etc.
- Human cloning is not at all “natural”
- Some people, such as Lauren Tribe (a constitutional law scholar) say that “human cloning would alter the very meaning of humanity” (Hawley, pg. 5)
My view is that human cloning is totally ethical. There is no moral wrong in genetically making a carbon copy of an individual. Some people worry that individuals from the past, such as Adolf Hitler, can be brought back if human cloning is legalized. However, there really isn’t any basis for those worries. Individuals from the past such as Hitler can be copied in exact physical form, but not psychological form. Nuclear Transfer is only able to copy Hitler’s DNA into another twin. However, Hitler’s way of thinking and his actions are not directly related to his DNA. Instead, I would argue that the time and environment that an individual is in affects his mental functions rather than his genetic information. As for the opinion that human cloning is a fake and unnatural way of birth, I find no justification for that thought. In cloning, a real live being is produced just like in birth. Also, the process of cloning does not involve a machine or any artificial products. The living embryo containing an organism’s DNA is merely placed inside a substitute mother for birth.
Should human cloning be allowed in our society today? That question is up to you to answer. However, keep in mind the advantages of human cloning and forget the nonsense of “morality”.
About the Human Cloning Foundation