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The issue of cloning has always been around in our everyday lives. Cloning was common
in movies such a as Jurassic Park and The Lost World, where cloning seemed to be an idea of
fantasy and not reality. The idea that scientist could just take a little DNA from a dead mosquito
and turn it into something that could tower over a skyscraper was very intriguing to most people.
On the other hand, there were movies such as Alien Resurrection, in which cloning was necessary
in order to save lives. That was a little more farfetched, but no less enthralling. The idea of even
cloning oneself came up in the movie Multiplicity. The idea seemed common but unaccomplished
yet, for who would not want an extra pair of hands or better yet an extra brain? However, these
movies are just that, movies. It was not until the creation of Dolly, who was acknowledged to be
the first cloned mammal, was cloned that cloning became an actual reality. It was looked upon in
wonder and much skepticism of what would happen next. When Richard Seed, a renowned
scientist, announced that he had decided to clone himself, and that his wife would carry the egg to
term, mass hysteria arose ( Scientist Wants to Clone Himself ). Different countries all over the
world tried to pass laws to ban cloning despite being unsuccessful.
There is more that one method of cloning that exists today. Artificial Twining is one
existing method. This procedure begins when an egg has been fertilized by sperm and starts
dividing. If it divides into an eight cell embryo and those eight cells are separated, those cells can
be implanted into the uteri of eight separate mothers. Then eight clones will be born of different
mothers ( Ways to Clone Mammals ). The second method of cloning is a bit more complicated
and much more controversial. Nuclear transfer is the method by which the first mammal clone,
Dolly, was created. This procedure starts out with an unfertilized egg cell and a skin cell of the
mammal to be cloned. The nucleus is then removed from the egg, thus taking out all of its genetic
identity. Next the skin cell is placed inside the egg; an electric pulse is then used to fuse the egg
cell and the skin cell together. The electrical pulse also allows the reconstructed and now
fertilized egg to divide. The fertilized egg is then placed inside a uterus to develop further
(WTCM). Many say that some form of nuclear transfer will be the method by which the first
human clone is developed. This is probably believed because this is the method that most mammal
clones have been produced. By the end of 2000, eight species of mammals had been cloned,
including mice, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and rats ( Ethical Aspects of Human Cloning ). There
have been between 3,000 and 5,000 animal clones produced to date.
The medical value of cloning is very evident. Cloning allows scientists to better understand
cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is when a stem cell, found inside embryos during the first
two weeks of development, specializes into cells that perform specific functions. Research on the
basic process of cell differentiation can lead to dramatic new medical interventions. Lets say that
you are on the verge of kidney failure and your only hope to survive is a kidney transplant, but
you are on a long waiting list and you do not have that much time. Through their knowledge of
cellular differentiation scientist would be able to grow a cloned kidney, and thus there would not
be a long waiting list ( A Twist on Creation ). Another medical value of cloning is that there may
be a way to fight disease by putting disease fighting agents in the genetic makeup of cows milk or
chicken eggs. The Roslin Clinic is an example of such a scenario. There are reports that Roslin is
working on the production of a genetically engineered chicken whose eggs would fight cancer.
The eggs would be produced with an anticancer protein( Cloning Report: Egg Medicine ).
Another reason cloning could be useful is to keep endangered spices of plants and animals from
growing extinct. Scientists could make genetic reproductions of animals and therefore increase
the population of those animals to keep them from becoming extinct. Scientists could also make
genetic reproductions of rare plants that could one day prove to help in the fight of disease.
Cloning could also be beneficial to potential parents who cannot naturally conceive or parents
who have recently lost a young child. Imagine a couple who has tried everything possible to
conceive a child or a mother who is so distraught by the death of her young daughter that she can
not carryout normal daily activities. Scientists can help both of these people through the process
of nuclear transfer.
There may be many medical values for cloning, but there are also many dangers and
ethical issues that must be addressed when talking about cloning. It is true that scientists have
produced many health clones, but do they tell the public how many times their attempts failed? Do
they tell the public how many of the clones have come out deformed or dead upon birth? In the
case of Dolly there were 277 attempts at cell fusion, and only twenty-nine of those attempts even
began to divide. Out of the twenty-seven that were implanted into surrogate mothers only thirteen
of the ewes became pregnant, and of the 13 Dolly was the only lamb born ( Ethical Aspects of
Cloning ). Even the scientist who cloned Dolly, Ian Wilmut, has come out against human
cloning. Wilmut says that the failure rate for clones is still over 98%, and that it would be
criminally irresponsible for scientists to be experimenting on humans ( Baby, it s you! And you,
and you … )( Baby ). The risk lies not just with potential babies born deformed, as many animal
clones are; not just with desperate couples and cancer patients and other potential clients whose
hopes may be raised and hearts broken and life savings wiped out ( Baby ). Lets say for a
moment that scientists did perfect human cloning and decreased the failure rate, and a couple that
has just lost their three year old daughter decides to clone her. Cloning, even if it works, is not
resurrection ( Baby ). The clone would not be the same little girl. One s personality is formed by
their experiences and the environment that they are subjected to. Another scenario would be a
couple who learns that they can not naturally have children. They decide to have a child cloned
after the husband. Do you think that it should bother the woman knowing that she is actually
raising her husband as a little boy? Cloning is not a way of bringing someone back from the dead
or even immortality. Cloning is, in effect, a very unsuccessful and dangerous procedure that may
in time do more harm than good.
When the announcement came that there had been the birth of the first cloned animal,
Dolly, it triggered a reaction all over the world. Many countries banned cloning all together. In
the United States, the House of Representatives and the Senate immediately drafted bills to
completely ban human cloning, and President Clinton established a committee to address the
science and ethics of human cloning. This committee was called the National Bioethics Advisory
Commission (NBAC). The NBAC finally ruled that human cloning is morally unacceptable. The
meaning of what it is to be human–which until now has involved, at the very least, the mysterious
melding of two different people s DNA–will shift forever, along with our understanding of the
relationship between parents and children, means and ends, ends and beginnings ( Baby ).
@@ A Twist on Creation. Oct. 2000. March 6,2001.
@@ Cloning Report: Egg Medicine. Coghlan, Andy. March 6,2001.
Ethical Aspects of Human Cloning. March 6,2001.
Scientist Wants to Clone Himself. 1998-1999. March 6,2001.
Ways to Clone Mammals. Koyotic Development. March 3,1999. March 6,2001.
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