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Since the late seventies scientists have been cloning mammals using cells taken from embryos. In July 1996, medical history was made when a sheep named Dolly was cloned. The only thing that set Dolly the sheep apart from the other clones was that she was cloned from an adult sheep cell. Before Dolly was cloned, scientists thought adult cell cloning was impossible. A clone is defined as a group of genetically identical cells. The goals and purposes for cloning range from making copies of those that have deceased to better engineering the offspring in humans and animals. Cloning could also offer a means of curing diseases. Cloning has many benefits that could be used as an aid to the human race, but there is also the ethical debate over cloning. Many people believe it will do damage to mankind. Some feel it is against God?s will, while others fear deformity and emotional stress in the human clone. Despite the ongoing debate, cloning produces many advances for the human race.
Cloning has already made advances from the cloning animals. Embryo splitting was developed in the eighties and is used by ranchers and livestock breeders. Through this process, farmers can twin their best animals and plants for better production. ?The Future of Cloning? states that ?Mammalian cloning research would allow genetic manipulation to produce animals that are disease resistant? (1). Cloning techniques are also being used in agriculture. It is used to produce higher yield, better quality fruits and vegetables. ?Ethical Concerns? states that, ?Transgenic animals (animals engineered to carry genes from species other than their own) can be made to produce a wide variety of protein that could be sold as drugs, as well as proteins, called enzymes, that can be used to speed up chemical reactions.?(1). Animals could be mass produced to provide a much faster and leaner species using cloning technologies. They can also provide for much needed drug substances using transgenic animals. Transgenic animals are also much cheaper than using bioengineering methods. Cloning animals has proved to have many benefits also for humans.
The cloning of animals could also take many creatures off of the endangered species list. By cloning the endangered animals, they could be saved from destruction and increase their population. ?Medical Benefits of Cloning? said that many animals are also being bred to provide organs for organ transplant patients. They are bred using the transgenic technique, to minimize the risk of rejection by the patient?s body. Pig?s hearts are often being transplanted in place of a human?s diseased heart. Donor pigs with human DNA could provide stronger hearts for humans in need of a transplant (1). Breeding these animals could aid in the small number of organs that are available today. The same procedures used to clone animals could also be used to clone humans.
Cloning humans could also provide many benefits like animals would. ?The Uses of Cloning? believes that infertile couples could use cloning to have children. Infertility treatments are only successful about ten percent of the time. It causes great emotional stress and many couples run out of time and money. Cloning would make it possible for the couples to have a better chance of producing a child. Many couples do not prefer adopting, so cloning would be their best chance to have a child that was biologically related to them (2). Women who are single could also use cloning instead of in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination. Cloning would also allow the mother to produce a disease free baby. Many diseases are caused by a flaw in the gene. If the mother could carry the unflawed gene for one of these disorders, she could have a healthy child by giving the nucleus of her cell to the fetus. A child?s damaged tissues and organs could also be saved by cloning.
Tissues and organs could be cloned by using embryonic stem cells to take place of the damaged tissues and organs. human skin is already being grown in laboratories to use on people who have been severely burned. The damaged skin can be replaced by a human?s healthy skin to provide a skin graft. There is no risk of the patient?s immune system rejecting the skin. Scientists can grow skin more easily than other tissues and organs because skin cells are able to divide and produce new cells better than others. Researchers are attempting to solve this problem by ?reprogramming? cells to help them divide easier. They would then be able provide nerve cells for spinal injury victims or muscle cells for heart attack patients. ?Benefits of Human Cloning? says that cancer could also be cured through the cloning technique.
Scientists may learn how to switch cells on and off through cloning and thus be able to cure cancer. Scientists do not know exactly how cells differentiate into specific kinds of tissue, nor do they understand why cancerous cells lose their differentiation. Cloning, at long last, may be the key to understanding differentiation and cancer. (1)
Conditions of Alzheimer?s disease, Parkinson?s disease, diabetes, degenerative joint disease, and many others could be cured by the use of cloning.
Plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery could be improved using cloning techniques. Many cosmetic procedures cause immune disease. Using cloning techniques the cosmetic procedures would no longer cause immune disease. ?The Benefits of Human Cloning? states that, ?With the new technology, instead of using materials foreign to the body for such procedures, doctors will be able to manufacture bone, fat, connective tissue, or cartilage that matches the patients tissues exactly? (1). People who were altering their appearance with breast implants would no longer have to worry about the implants leaking into their bodies. Accident victims who require reconstructive surgery would have safe bone and tissue that their body would take as it?s own and would not reject. Arms, legs, and other limbs could also be regenerated using the cloning techniques.
Clones could also be used for spare parts. ?Cloning Supporters? suggest that ?Fertilized ova could be cloned into several zygotes, one would be implanted and the others would be frozen for future use?(2). If a child were to require a transplant, the another zygote could be implanted and used for the transplant. Steps have already been taken implies Dr. Patrick Dixon. Aborted fetuses are being used to treat some adult diseases. Twins that are conceived in a laboratory, then implanted eighteen months apart, are already being born. Some mothers have already agreed to have another child just for the purpose of transplant material for the other child (5). This technique is very debatable but could provide some benefits.
Cloning could provide many much needed medical and agricultural benefits to the world. Animals could be cloned to provide better livestock, drugs, and organs for human transplant patients. Cloning could also help couples and women who are not able to have children. Cloning would help to relieve the emotional baggage of an infertile mother.
Cloning could also save many lives by creating extra tissues and organs for those in need of an organ transplant or tissue damages. The immune system would accept these organs and tissues as it?s own. Diseased children would also be given a second chance by having a clone to use for transplants. Cloning holds many medical benefits for the future human race. ?All the Reasons to Clone Human Beings? declares ?Human cloning technology is expected to result in several miraculous medical breakthroughs?(1)
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