Cloning – The assualt on the sanctity of life

Cloning has been occurring in the natural world for thousands of years. A clone is just a time-delayed twin of another person or animal which results in both organisms acquiring the same set of genes. Throughout history and most notably in the last hundred years huge strives have been made in the field of genetics, and they are bound to keep on happening. The first person known to have successfully cloned an animal was Hans Dreisch in the late 1800’s. Dreisch used sea urchins because they have large embryo cells and through his experiments he proved that genetic material is not lost during cell division.

In 1902, Hans Spemman successfully separated a 2 celled embryo of a salamander which eventually developed into an identical salamander. Both these early breakthroughs paved the way for the modern concept of cloning. The next advance happened fifty years later in a laboratory in Philadelphia where a group of scientists successfully cloned a frog embryo. This breakthrough was huge because the team did not simply break off a cell from the embryo of the frog; they removed the nucleus and replaced it for the nucleus of an unfertilized frog egg cell.

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This was a huge breakthrough for modern day science as it was the first time that a nuclear transplant had ever been successfully conducted. Nuclear transplants still occur today, however the method differs slightly. In 1986 scientists from both the US and Britain claimed to have cloned the first mammal, big advances were made from those experiments including new insight and knowledge of how to keep tissue alive in laboratory conditions. On July 5th 1996 Dolly was born, her birth marked arguably one of the greatest achievements of modern science.

It took scientists over two hundred attempts to clone her but eventually it all paid off although she did not live as long as hoped it is still regarded as the biggest ever breakthrough for scientists as well as a massive achievement for mankind. The first mouse was cloned in 1997, she was named Cumulina as she was cloned from cumulus cells using traditional nuclear transfer. By the end of 1998 over fifty identical mice had been successfully cloned.

As cloning technology has improved over the years so has the demand and applications for cloning in everyday life. For example recently an American couple has approached an American University is a bid to clone their eleven year old dog, they are spending over two million dollars to clone her. The various types of cloning There are three different types of cloning, embryo cloning, reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Embryo cloning This type of cloning involves duplicating the natural process that results in twins or triplets being formed.

Cells are removed from a fertilized embryo and they are planted in other embryos and encouraged to develop, this procedure results in the formation of twins or triplets containing the exact same DNA. This technique has mainly been utilized on animals. Reproductive cloning Reproductive cloning is used to produce an identical replica of an existing animal. Dolly was cloned using this technique, the procedure involves extracting DNA from an embryo and replacing the DNA is DNA from an adult animal. The embryo is then implanted in the womb from where it develops into another animal.

Reproductive cloning cannot ethically be used to produce a human clone due to the fact that some experiments on animals have produced defective specimens. Benefits Opportunities for couples who are infertile or who cannot have children. Negatives Extremely low success rate as well as high incident rates of deformities and health problems amongst many test subjects. The exploitation of human life for the benefit of others as well as discrimination and other ethical issues. Violation of human rights. Cloning is incredibly expensive.

Lots of unknowns about what effects there might be on human intelligence and mood which are vital parts of human development. Therapeutic cloning This procedure is the same used in reproductive cloning but after about 14 days in the womb the stem cells from the embryo are extracted and encouraged to develop into human tissue or even a complete organ. This type of cloning will be used to produce organs for transplant, nervous tissue, brain cells or heart muscle. Benefits Latest advance and it brings new hope to thousands of people all over the world.

Therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning are two very different procedures that lead to two very different goals, while reproductive cloning aims at creating a whole new human which can be utilized in any way possible therapeutic cloning results in the production of human tissues and organs that are ready for transplants. The end result of the procedure would not be a human being, but human tissue and organs that could potentially save a life. This type of cloning will be used to create organs that are perfect matches for specific people which will result in the cloned organ being genetically identical to the recipient’s genetic material.

Therefore immunosuppressive drugs would not be necessary and there would be no chance of organ rejection. Therapeutic cloning can also be beneficial for studying specific diseases. If the somatic cell donor has a genetic disease, such as muscular dystrophy, the product of therapeutic cloning would also contain the genes of muscular dystrophy. Cells extracted from this could then be used to study the make up of muscular dystrophy with the ultimate goal of determining new and improved ways of fighting, preventing and curing the disease.

Negatives Therapeutic cloning is still the exact same science as reproductive cloning; it is the deliberate murder of a human being for exploitation, it is an infringement of basic human rights such as the right to life, the right to equality and a life free of discrimination. In truth all cloning is the same, regardless of whether the embryo is planted in the womb and born to live a life of discrimination, experimentation and exploitation or killed in the embryonic stage to ‘assist’ other sick or dying people.

The bottom line is that a human life is harvested then exploited. The ethical and religious objections to cloning and the harvesting of body parts The harmless utter of the word cloning is enough fuel to fire a huge raging debate about the subject. Whether it be at the dinner table or at an old age home, cloning is one of the most controversial topics of the modern era and there are strong arguments from both sides. The main objectors are religious activists as well as many other people who fear that cloning will result in a whole new concept of ‘genetic superiority’.

Clones may be treated as second class citizens and human cloning would bring serious risks of abuses to human dignity and exploitation. Many people have huge concerns about humans playing God and creating life, even therapeutic cloning has come under huge amounts of scrutiny. Other issues that are highlighted include the social issues that cloned children may face as well as the destruction of human embryos. How does one become an organ donor and what are the legal requirements In order to become an organ donor the first step is to register.

In South Africa an organ donor card will be sent to you once you register with the Organ Donor Foundation. Along with the card, stickers are also sent that should be stuck on your driver’s license and ID book. If you are involved in an accident and are certified brain dead, a transplant co-coordinator has to approach your next-of-kin and ask permission to harvest your organs, it is law in South Africa that the next-of-kin must give permission. It is therefore vital that if you want to become a donor you must discuss your intentions with your family and make sure that they understand and accept your decision.

To protect the person receiving the organ, many health and safety tests are conducted. It is a primary concern that the organ not be infected or damaged in any way as this could jeopardize the life of the recipient. Safety and health regulations vary from country to country but generally organs from people with a history of cancer are not accepted as well as organs from people who have infectious diseases or bacterial or fungal infections at the time of death. Such people may donate their organs and tissues for laboratory research or education.

New laws in the USA have allowed HIV+ people to donate organs to other HIV+ people. Costs involved with cloning Cloning is incredibly expensive; it is more costly than the most expensive drugs. Creating a cloned embryo requires human egg cells which are not cheap; fertilization clinics will generally pay up to $5000 to an egg donor. Scientists will definitely use a smaller quantity of eggs if therapeutic cloning is used on people. But once again the problem is the cost; a mere 100 eggs taken from ten donors could easily lead to a bill of $50,000.

There will also be more medical costs involved in extracting the egg as this is a complicated surgery, this means that it could potentially cost over $100,000 to treat one patient. It has been estimated that it would cost about $1. 7 million to clone a human. Cloning Banning human cloning reflects our humanity. It is the right thing to do. Creating a child through this new method calls into question our most fundamental beliefs. It has the potential to threaten the sacred family bonds at the very core of our ideals and our society.

At its worst, it could lead to misguided and malevolent attempts to select certain traits, even to create certain kind of children — to make our children objects rather than cherished individuals. BILL CLINTON, speech, June 9, 1997 After conducting my research and gaining more insight into this topic and the different types of cloning, I have come to the conclusion that cloning is a very powerful tool that is too powerful and advanced for the likes of humans.

I know to some it may seem a bit narrow minded, but no one can be sure of the potential consequences that may result from cloning. Scientists have tried to demonstrate the potential benefits of both reproductive and therapeutic cloning but it is all the same, it is the development of human beings purely for exploitation and this is unjust and morally wrong. As human beings we are bought up with values, we are taught about the values of marriage, parenthood and respect. I think that cloning will diminish these values and our overall individuality and uniqueness will be undermined.

Reproductive cloning poses a huge risk to humanity, some things are best left to nature and such cloning is definitely one of them, society should not diminish itself to cloning humans for its own good and the course of life should be left in the hands of nature. I definitely agree that it is immoral to kill someone just so that the body parts may be harvested, it does not matter if that person is an adult, child, or an embryo. It is not right to view a cloned human being as a piece of property. The last time people were treated as property we called it slavery.

I cannot even begin to comprehend the thought of treating people as objects and killing them for convenience, has mankind stooped to an all time low? Cloning will destroy our uniqueness and individuality it will result in divisions in our society and I believe it will be a new source of conflict. I am not a religious person nor am I an expert of the matter but I just hate to think of the huge snarling monster we could potentially set free, no one can fully foresee the future of cloning and this is where I think it could get extremely dangerous.

Cloning has promised to create the perfect human being; this again poses questions such as, what is perfect? No one knows what perfect is so why try and create a race of perfect human beings, it is our individuality that makes humans unique, why throw that all away just to create a race of supermen? Cloning has also been proposed as a way for infertile couples to reproduce, but there are plenty of other ways to produce children other than cloning, and there are more to come in the near future. Processes such as reproductive cloning are not only time consuming but also incredibly expensive.

It has been estimated that it will cost over $1. 7 million to clone a human. Another problem is the incredibly low success rate; it took 277 attempts to create Dolly which might have been an amazing feat at the time but think of the fate of the other 276 eggs, in such a case you have to ask whether the juice is worth the squeeze and with such a low success rate it clearly is not. Cloning is a topic that generates much confusion within the public; many people disagree with the idea of creating a whole human being purely for human usage, entertainment and disposal as depicted by Reproductive cloning.

However many people seem to believe that therapeutic cloning is different in the sense that it does not involve cloning an actual human being but it involves using a ‘pre-embryo’, this however is rubbish as therapeutic cloning does use a real embryo. All reproduction begins with the fertilization of an egg which leads to the development of a living human being, therapeutic cloning is no different from reproductive cloning in the sense that it is the harvesting of new life for the benefit of others. The only difference between reproductive and therapeutic cloning is how each embryo is used after production.

In reproductive cloning the embryo is implanted in the womb and encouraged to grow, therapeutic cloning is the deliberate destruction of the embryo for his or her stem cells which are used to save the lives of others. What kind of society do we live in that allows a certain few people the opportunity to choose and alter the course of life? How can we harvest life just to destroy it? This is exactly the problem that the world is facing with cloning. I struggle to understand how people think that therapeutic cloning is beneficial as it saves lives, when it actually is the murder of another human being.

Cloning is a direct violation of human rights, all humans have the right to life and physical integrity, however, the cloning technique involves manipulation, selection and elimination of human embryos. It is vital that all humans be respected throughout life even in the embryonic phase. But the manipulation of human embryos during the process of cloning is a clear violation of the sanctity of life. The prospect of human cloning represents an infringement of two more fundamental human rights; the principle of equality among human beings and the principle of non-discrimination.

In human cloning we bear witness to man’s apparent dominance over man which is an infringement of the principle of equality among all human beings. In the process of cloning we also witness the selection and manipulation of certain embryos which is an example of discrimination. It is safe to say that human cloning does not seem to promise any great benefits neither does it seem to meet any great human needs. Both forms of cloning involve practices that are morally wrong as well as offensive and one really has to think if the end really does justify the mean.