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Human Awareness Essay: Human Cloning

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PES Biology

Human Awareness Essay:

Human Cloning


Human cloning is a highly publicised, groundbreaking topic. The effects of cloning and most importantly human cloning could change society and the biological world, as we know it. Bioethics, which is the study of value and judgments pertaining to human conduct in the area of biology, has been an important factor of all areas in the scientific field. One of the most recent bioethical issues facing society is the idea of human cloning. Cloning is best described as the genetic copying of an organism to create a 'replica' that has the same DNA. Han Spemann, a German embryologist, this attempt unfortunately failed, first attempted the process of cloning in 1938. It was not until 1970 when cloning of monkeys, pigs, frogs and sheep (Dolly) were successfully cloned. The major reason as to why humans have not yet been cloned is due to there being no certain procedure or 'ingredients' for a complete clone.( Virginia, Sirs). If human cloning were to be socially, legally and scientifically possible, which it seems very close to being, then our society will under go many changes. As with most scientific breakthroughs, there are both positives and negatives. However, one effect is certain, each time a human clone is produced there is the element of risk and complicated legal issues.

Biological Relevance

Human cloning has come closer and closer to being an effective and used biological tool. It is the cloning of sheep that gives us the best overview of how exactly cloning is done. The following diagram shows the process of cloning sheep.

In 1996 the first sheep was cloned in the Roslin Institute. The successful sheep was the 276th attempt at the tedious procedure. The procedure involved in human cloning, although not 100% refined, can be broken down into two main procedures in which cloning can be performed, and accurately. The first method of cloning is called embryo cloning, which has been achieved before using frogs, other amphibians, mammals and once it was tried with humans, however both attempts human attempts failed. The second method of cloning involves the use of an adult cell, not an embryo. To do this scientists remove an egg cell from a female, and remove the chromosomes, nucleus etc, leaving no way for the mother to interfere with the genetic part of the reproduction. However, the parts of the egg cell needed for cell growth and development are left intact. The cell from an adult mammal is taken away from its owner. It is then placed in a cure dish; the cell is starved of nutrients, but is still kept alive. The reason for this is so the cell stops dividing, in order for cloning to take place. The nucleus from this cell is removed. The nucleus and eggs are then placed next to each other; the electrical charges are emitted into them. These electrical charges make the two fuse. After about six weeks, the egg cell, now artificially fertilized, is placed back into the uterus of another female of the same species. It is then allowed to grow and develop as normal, the baby is born after the normal amount of time needed to develop a baby. The result is the physical clone of a human.

Many questions remain, such questions as, is the patent of cloning owned? Amazingly, it is owned, the patent that allowed the first sheep to be cloned is owned by an American company, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT). A common misconception is that clones will have the same DAN as other animals. This is incorrect, a type of DNA called mitochondria is not remade from the mother during fertilisation. Mitochondria, an energy producer, cannot be transferred with the host's nucleus. The mitochondria are left in the egg cell for the fertilisation process.

Impacts of the issue

With human cloning being a major issue world wide, there is no shock in seeing the diversity of positive and negative effects that human cloning can possess. Cloning is "no longer in the realm of science fiction" (Virginia, Sirs). If cloning is successful, it will become of great benefit to many aspects of society. Cloning will allow homosexuals and infertile couples for biological offspring. Also lesbians or women in particular. More importantly, than this is the fact that if cloning reaches it is capabilities, we will be able to save many animals, including previous endangered animals. These animals will be able to be cloned in large amounts, making them 'unlimited'.` It is also possible to clone humans that are free of viruses, mental and physical impairments and that are 100% or near enough too completely healthy. There is also the possibility of cloning people to produce body parts such as lungs, heart, liver



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