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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
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