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Cloning Essay, Research Paper


Bioethics, which is the study of value judgments pertaining to

human conduct in the area of biology and includes those related to the

practice of medicine, has been an important aspect of all areas in the

scientific field (Bernstein, Maurice, M.D.). It is one of the factors

that says whether or not specific scientific research can go on, and if

it can, by which rules, regulations and guidelines it must abide by.

One of the most recent and controversial issues facing our society today

is the concept of cloning. On February 23, 1997, Ian Wilmut, a Scottish

scientist, along with his colleagues at the Roslin Institute and PPL

Therapeutics, announced to the world that they had cloned a lamb, which

they named Dolly, after Dolly Parton, from an adult sheep

(Mario,Christopher). The two share the same nucleic DNA, but differ in

terms of their mitochondrial DNA, which is vitally important for the

regulation of the cell. The media and the press ignored this fact, and

thus claimed that Dolly and her ‘mother’ were genetically identical,

which sparked a fury of outcry all around the world. The technique of

transferring a nucleus from a somatic cell into an egg cell of which the

nucleus had been removed, called nuclear transplantation, is an

extension of research that had been ongoing for over 40 years.

Up until now, scientists thought that adult cells could not be

“reprogrammed” to behave like a fertilized egg and create an embryo, but

the evidence obtained by Dolly’s success prove otherwise. The issues of

cloning have been around for a long time, starting with the publication

of Joshua Lederberg’s 1966 article on cloning in the American

Naturalist. The public’s interest has been perked by many sci-fi books,

films, and movies including Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel “Brave New

World,” 1973’s “Sleeper,” the 1978 film “The Boys from Brazil”. Most

recently, the movie “Multiplicity” dealt with replicating Billy Crystal

over and over (Mario, Christopher). The ethical, legal, and moral

issues aroused by cloning have been raised by previous projects, and are

now simply emerging again, with its focus on three major points: the

shift from sexual reproduction with that of asexual replication of

existing genes; the ability to predetermine the genes of a child; and

the ability to create many genetically identical children

(Report/Recommendations of the NBAC).

The public responded to Dolly with a mixture of fear and

excitement, questioning the benefits and the disasters that could happen

in the future if research was to continue. From a poll taken by Maurice

Bernstein, M.D., the results showed that 72% of the votes said that

cloning should be prohibited by law. They believe that cloning for any

reason would be an unethical and immoral thing to do. A common

misconception of cloning is that it is the instantaneous creation of a

fully-grown adult from the cells of the individual. Also, that an exact

copy, although much younger, of an existing person could be made,

reflecting the belief that one’s genes bear a simple relationship to the

physical and psychological traits that make up a person.

This is one point that those against cloning are often worried

about. That the clone would have no soul, no mind, no feelings or

emotions of their own, no say in how their life will be with their

destiny predetermined for them, and that each individual clone would not

be unique. They are also afraid that the clone will not be treated like

a person, more like a worthless second copy, or a fill-in for what was

there but now is lost. Although the genes do play an important part,

its the interaction among a person’s genetic inheritance, their

environment, memories, different life experiences, and the process of

learning that results in the uniqueness of each individual (Mario,


The risks involved in cloning people as well as animals are of a

much greater magnitude than many people realize. Our society needs to

begin weighing in the dangerous consequences before making any solid

conclusions, because cloning may wind up costing us much more than we

bargained for. The most beneficial result that cloning can present is

the ability to create organs. But, we must realize the risks involved

as well. There would most likely be many failures before there were to

be even one success, and there is no substantial evidence that this

would even be possible. So, the risks seem to greatly outweigh any

possible benefits.


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