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The Cloning Dilemma

Essay by   •  December 5, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,896 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,477 Views

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Last summer the movie "The Island" hit the box-office. This movie was not an ordinary love story or an action film; but, it a science fiction movie that raises a very important question. And that question is cloning morally wrong? This movie takes place in mid-21st century, where the inhabitants all wore the same style of white jumpsuit, all have mundane, numbing jobs, and all sleep in single-person cubicles that are a lot like prison cells, only cleaner and much more nicely decorated. These inhabitants have been told that the outside world is contaminated, and that the Island is the only uncontaminated place left. Subsequently, everyone in the community has to wait to win the lottery to go to the Island. However Lincoln. the main character, discovered that everything about his existence is a lie. He and all of the other inhabitants of the facility are actually human clones whose only purpose is to provide "spare parts" for their original human counterparts. Imagine finding out that one was only being harvested until someone else needed his/her organs. And while people may find this movie to be unrealistic, it proves a very vital point. ( Murray, 2005). Cloning is morally and ethically wrong because it causes physical damage, emotional pain, and it can be damaging to society.

Before explaining why cloning is wrong, the reader may wonder what exactly is cloning. The dictionary definition for cloning is genetically identical organism: a plant, animal, or other organism that is genetically identical to its parent, having developed by vegetative reproduction, for example from a bulb or a cutting, or experimentally from a single cell (World English Dictionary, 1998-2004). This definition means that cloning

enables the creation of an offspring without any sexual action or sexual contact. There are different techniques used for cloning. Some of these techniques are called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), parthenogenesis, The Honolulu Technique , and Therapeutic cloning.

In somatic cell nuclear method (SCNT), also know as the Roslin Technique,

the nucleus somatic cell is transferred to an egg. In this process, the nucleus of a somatic cell is removed and inserted into an unfertilized egg that has had its nucleus removed. The egg with its donated nucleus is then nurtured and divides until it becomes an embryo. The embryo is then placed inside a surrogate mother where it develops. Currently, SCNT is the most successful cloning technique. It is the same process that allowed the first sheep to be cloned.

Another technique for cloning is parthenogenesis. The word "parthenogenesis" is actually Greek for the word birth. In parthenogenesis, growth and development occur in an embryo or seed without fertilization by a male. Parthenogenesis occurs naturally in some lower plants, invertebrates, and some vertebrates. Parthenogenesis populations are typically all-female. But when this technique is used for cloning, it only works on females. An unfertilized egg cell is induced to divide and grow as if it was fertilized.

Parthenogenesis is also used to clone primates, with the emphasis on human cloning. In April 2004, scientists at Tokyo University of Agriculture used parthenogenesis to successfully create fatherless mice.

Next is The Honolulu Technique. The technique is credited to Teruhiko Wakayama and Ryuzo Yanagimachi of the University of Hawaii. In this method, the nucleus from a somatic cell is removed and injected into an egg that has had its nucleus removed. The egg is bathed in a chemical solution and cultured. The developing embryo is then implanted into a surrogate and allowed to develop. Using this technique in July of 1998, a team of scientists at the University of Hawaii announced that they had produced three generations of genetically identical cloned mice.

Finally, Therapeutic cloning involves removing the DNA from an embryo and replacing it with the DNA from a cell removed from an individual. The resultant embryo would be allowed to grow for perhaps 14 days. Its stem cells would then be extracted and encouraged to grow into a piece of human tissue or a complete human organ for transplant. The end result would not be a human being; it would be a replacement organ, or piece of nerve tissue, or quantity of skin. Therapeutic cloning could be used to provide replacement organs or tissue for people who have had theirs damaged. ( Bailey,2005)

No matter what technique is used for cloning the question still remains, is it morally and ethically wrong. Cloning is unethical is because of the physical damage that can result when cloning a human. These health risks can be shown through cloning animals. The most famous cloned animal ever was "Dolly," the sheep. She was cloned on February 23, 1997 by Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute. But her life was doomed from the start. In the year 1999, scientists discovered that Dolly's cells were showing signs of premature aging. In 2002, her creators found that she was developing arthritis, far earlier than is normal for sheep. And on February 14, 2003, Dolly was euthanized after scientists confirmed that she had a progressive lung disease. At only 6 years old, Dolly was relatively young when she died. The premature death of Dolly the sheep, and the serious physical disabilities she had while still alive alone should make us all determined to stop any efforts to clone human beings. (Kolata ,1998)

Also attempts to clone animals have resulted in serious failures in the past. Some animals were born dead; others were deformed in the womb and had oversized organs. Since human cloning is such a complicated duplication, the risk of health problems would be greater. Do we really want to risk creating children who are deformed, die in the womb, or who may suffer from premature aging? The answer should be a resounding "NO"! Wilmut, the scientist credited with "Dolly," agrees with this point. He in fact calls the cloning of humans "appalling," because it would result in a high number of miscarriages and deaths among newborns. Wilmuts' point can be proven by the fact that it took two hundred and seventy seven attempts to make Dolly. What kind of person would accept those odds when experimenting with human babies.(HUMAN CLONING: Comments by political groups, religious authorities, 2005)

The psychological effects of cloning are less obvious, but they are still present. One of those harms is the loss of identity, or sense of uniqueness and individuality. Many argue that cloning creates serious issues of identity and individuality and forces humans to consider the definition of self. Gilbert Meilaender commented on the importance of genetic uniqueness not only to the child but to the parent as well when he appeared

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