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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 ).

Works Cited

@@ 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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