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Human Cloning Essay, Research Paper

Imagine it is the year 2008. As you pick up your

daily issue of the New York Times, you begin to

read some of the interesting articles on the front

page. The top story of the paper reads, "Germany

Wins All Gold Medals at the Olympic Games: Is

Cloning in Competitive Events Fair?" Other

interesting articles reported on the front page

include: "Rock Star Stacy Levesque and Lover?s

Nuclear Transplanted Child is Born" and "Former

President George Bush?s Cloned Heart Transplant

A Success." These articles are examples of how

much of an influence cloning can be in the future.

Although these articles would have seemed

science fiction several years ago, the idea of

cloning became a reality in 1997. On February 27,

1997, it was reported that scientist produced the

first clone of an adult sheep, attracting international

attention and raising questions of whether cloning

should take place. Within days, the public called

for ethics inquires and new laws to ban cloning.

The potential effects of cloning are unimaginable.

What would life be like with women who are able

to give birth to themselves, cloned humans who

are used for "spare parts", and genetically superior

cloned humans? Based on the positive advances

of cloning versus the negative effects, one must

ask his/herself whether cloning humans should be

banned entirely.

According to the American Heritage College

Dictionary, cloning is "to reproduce or propagate

asexually." This definition means that cloning

enables the creation of offspring without any

sexual action or sexual contact. There are several

methods for cloning: separating the embryo and

making twins with the same genetic make-up,

taking a cell from a fertilized ovum when the cell

begins to split and replace it in another female?s

ovum, or nuclear transplantation. In the 10 March

1998 issue of Time, J. Madeleine Nash explains

one example of how a clone of an adult ewe is

"born" from nuclear transplantation. First, a cell is

taken from the udder of an adult ewe and placed

in a culture with very low concentrations of

nutrients. As the cells starve, they stop dividing

and switch off their active genes, and go into

hibernation. An unfertilized egg is then taken from

another adult ewe and the egg?s nucleus, along

with its DNA, is sucked out, leaving an empty egg

cell that still has the cellular machinery to produce

an embryo. The empty egg and the culture of

starved cells are then placed next to each other.

Then an electronic pulse causes the egg and the

cells to fuse together and a second burst is given

to jump-start the cell division. Six days later, the

embryo is implanted in the uterus of another ewe.

The result of this process will be the birth of a

baby sheep, having identical genes as the first

sheep from which the cells were extracted from

the udder. Although scientist understand how

cloning is possible and what the cloning methods

are, exactly how the adult DNA changes once

inside the egg still remains a question. Whichever

method is used to create a clone, the outcome

remains the same ? cloning is duplicating an exact

copy of another life form.

The term "cloning" was first introduced in 1903 by

Herbert John Webber as a new horticultural term

and was first applied to manmade populations of

cultivated plants. In the early 1980?s, scientists

developed a procedure called nuclear transfer that

enabled scientists to replace the DNA-containing

nucleus of an egg cell with a nucleus from another

cell. At Allegheny University of the Health

Sciences, scientists raised a crop of tadpoles from

the red blood cells of adult frogs; however, this

experiment failed when the tadpoles died halfway

through metamorphosis. Last year in the 27

February issue of Nature, Mr. Wilmut and his

colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh,

Scotland successfully created a clone of an adult

ewe and named her Dolly. Dolly was "born" by

taking genetic material from cells in the mammary

glands of a 6 year-old ewe and putting the

acquired cells into an unfertilized ovum. Out of

277 tries, researchers eventually produced only 29

embryos that survived longer than 6 days, of these

29, all died before birth except Dolly. Since Dolly

was born, scientists have made additional

advances in cloning, and now harbor the concept

of cloning humans.

Those who support cloning argue that cloning can

benefit the human race and society by contributing

to medical and psychological studies, allowing

infertile mothers to have biological children, and

cloning animals or humans to attain needed organs.

Many medical researchers can utilize cloned genes

to diagnosis many genetic diseases. By cloning

genes, scientists can create hundreds of identical

genes and diagnose mutations that result in the

disease. By being able to work with identical

genes, it would allow scientists to experiment with

trial and error and compare the results of their

experiments. By using cloned genes for medical

research purposes, it is possible to find cures to

AIDS, cancer, and other biological diseases much

more quickly. Other researchers who could

benefit from cloning are psychologists. Last year,

in my high school Psychology class, we debated

whether a person?s personality was predetermined

by his genetic makeup, or if his/her environment

shaped his/her personality. This debate could

easily be solved with the help of clones. For

example, psychologists could take several

genetically identical clones and raise them in

various families with varied social statuses and

lifestyles. As these clones grow in their respective

environments, psychologist would be able to

monitor their respective personalities and draw

conclusions to answer the debate. Another group

of people who would benefit from cloning is

infertile women. Many woman throughout the

world cannot become pregnant because they are

infertile. Although these women have the option to

adopt, the fact remains that their adopted child is

not biologically their own. However, by cloning

the infertile woman?s DNA and transplanting the

DNA into another woman?s ovum, the baby will

be born as the biological child of the infertile

mother. Another fact that I found in my research

was the fact that there are approximately 50,000

people on the National Waiting List for an organ

transplant and out of these 50,000 people, only

20,000 will actually receive a transplant. If

scientists could clone human organs, thousands of

people who are awaiting an organ transplant could

be saved. By cloning humans, surgeons could reap

the organs of cloned individuals, without actually

killing a human being. This process of growing

human life as material is called "organ farming."

Through my research I have found that the

majority of people who support the applications of

cloning have been from the medical or science

communities. However, there are also many

individuals outside of science and medicine who

also support cloning. For example, Nicholas

Coote, assistant general secretary of the Roman

Catholic Bishops Conference in England, defends

cloning humans by stating, "If I have a clone of me,

I am still unique as my clone has a consciousness

that is not mine."

On the other side of the debate, those who

advocate the ban on cloning argue that cloning is

immoral and against God?s will. Many people feel

that scientist should not have the power to "play

God? under any circumstances. In many religious

articles, the authors were appalled with the notion

that scientists were creating life. For thousands of

years, religion has taught that the only human

creations were Adam and Eve, and that only God

and heterosexual reproduction could create life.

Advocates of the ban on cloning believe that

cloning is immoral and sinful. Another viewpoint

against cloning, as E. V. Kontorovich said in his

National Review article, "Cloning would take the

humanity out of human reproduction." Gary Bauer,

President of the Family Research Council also

stated, "Human cloning should be banned because

it transforms procreation into production where

human children are the customized products."

Kontorovich and Bauer both imply that cloning

humans would destroy the concept of humanity.

Many people who support the ban on cloning feel

that cloning is manufacturing human lives as if they

were objects and not living beings. Another

consequence of cloning humans is the fact that if

offspring are identical to their parents, they cannot

evolve to adapt to their environment. E. V.

Kontorovich pointed this out in his National

Review article by stating, "It is necessary for

species to respond to environmental changes so

that the human species can evolve." Although

scientist would be able to create genetically

superior humans at the moment, in the long run

humans may become less diverse and unable to

adapt to changing climates or other changes in

their environment. Also, many supporters of the

ban on cloning are worried that cloning could

replace the "average human" with genetically

superior clones, thus making the human race

obsolete. If Adolf Hitler would have had today?s

cloning technology he might have been able to

clone an army of genetically superior clones and

have taken over the world. Today, if a scientist,

who is capable of cloning humans, joins terrorist

organizations and clones a massive army of

military Generals, these organizations could

succeed where Hitler failed.

To begin my research to answer my thesis, I

visited the United States Military Academy

Library and looked through reference books to

get facts about human cloning and its possible

effects of society. My next step was to look

through scientific magazines to find published

articles concerning cloning. These articles

provided much information about cloning and the

process of cloning. To find as much information as

I could, I searched through articles on the library?s

catalog online, through scientific magazines, and

even though magazines on microfilm. When I felt

that I understood the facts concerning cloning, I

began to look through general magazines, articles

on the Internet, and Internet web pages. These

articles provided mostly opinions of the

controversial issue of cloning and I was able to

understand how different people viewed the issue

of cloning and why they felt the way they did.

After I gathered all of my information from

photocopying articles and taking notes, I

organized my information to match my outline and

began writing my research paper.

Cloning has become a very important issue that is

affecting our world. What would the world be like

with a superior race, such as the hypothetical

German Olympic teams of 2008 or with armies of

cloned humans conquering every continent on

Earth? Even if cloning is limited to medical

research, there will always be scientists who will

find ways to use cloning to their own personal

benefit. Consequently, even if cloning is limited to

medical research, there is still the risk of cloning

humans. We simply cannot play God and create

life because it is morally wrong and sinful, and

most importantly, dangerous. The only answer to

the cloning issue is to sacrifice the medical and

biological gains of cloning and put an absolute ban

on all cloning.

Sources

Hansen, Kristin. "Bauer Says Human Cloning Should Be

Banned." Family Research Council, 29 January

1998, accessed 4 November 1998. Available from

http://www.frc.org/press/012998c.html

Karnad, Anand, Sergio Salazar, and Nikhil Patel.

"Cloning to Produce Recombinant DNA." In Magill?s

Survey of Science, 2nd ed. Magill 505-511. Pasadena:

Salem Press, 1991.

Kontorovich, E. V. "Clone Wars: Asexual Revolution."

National Review, 9 March 1998, accessed 4

November 1998. Available from

http://www.nationalreview.com/09mar98/kontorovich030998.html

Masood, Ehsan. "Cloning Technique Reveals Legal

Loophole." Nature, 27 February 1998, 757.

Nash, J. Madeline. "The Age of Cloning." Time, 10

March 1998, 62-65.

Pennisi, Elizabeth and Nigel Williams. "Will Dolly Send

in the Cones?" Science, 7 March 1997,

1415-1416.

Stearn, William T. "Clone." In The Encyclopedia of

Biological Sciences, 2nd ed.

Taylor, Todd. "Xenotransplantation." Cloning,

November 1997, accessed 6 November 1998. Available

from

http://sites.unc.edu/~daniel/11fall97/finals11/brianne/cloning.html

Travis, J. "Ewe Again? Cloning From Adult DNA."

Science News, 1 March 1997, 132.

Wilmut, I., A. E. Schnieke, J. McWhir, A.J. Kind, and K.

H. S. Campbell. "Viable offspring derived from

fetal and adult mammalian cells." Nature, 27 February

1998, 810-813.


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