This paper seeks to explore the scientific concept of cloning. The focus is on the origin of cloning, its meaning, and human cloning as well as the moral, ethical and legal issues surrounding human cloning. The paper goes further on folk wisdom and pregnancy. Cloning in general refers to developing an identical copy of something. According to Morrison E. Eileen, John F. Monagle (2008, p. 103), cloning in organism biology refers to the creation of an organism that is an exact genetic copy of another organism.
This involves developing exactly similar DNA make up between the two organisms. Cloning may be categorized into recombinant DNA technology cloning, reproductive cloning or therapeutic cloning. The first organism to be clone was a tadpole in the year 1952 through nuclear transfer technology; this was a product of several researches by scientist which were both published and unpublished. DNA cloning has a substantial contribution towards gene therapy, genetic engineering of organisms, and sequencing genomes.
Gene therapy can be used to treat certain genetic conditions by introducing virus vectors that carry corrected copies of faulty genes into the cells of a host organism. Genes from different organism can be used to develop pest and disease resistant animals and plants. Through cloning, desired qualities in an organism can be retained. For instance, genetically engineered food crops are targeted at improved tastes and nutritional value and 2001 cloning of baby mouflon in Italy. Several factors have made scientists to believe that human cloning is impossible.
There has been inefficiency in animal cloning with approximately 1-2 viable off springs in 100 attempts by researchers (Human Gerome Project, 2008). The few successful cloning are also prone to infections hence premature deaths are common with clones. A part from being considered unethical, scientists are afraid of the impact of cloning on human mental development. However, Australian House of Representatives passed a bill in 2006 legalizing therapeutic cloning and the creation of human embryos. Researchers believe therapeutic cloning could result in cures for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Human cloning could also help resolve infertility problems by allowing those unable to pass genes to future generations to do so in a way that is at least analogous to the familial linkage of twins. (Cass R. Sunstein, Craven N. Martha, 1998, p. 71). Human cloning however faces some challenges as some people believe it is unethical to use a human clone to save the life of another. Other critics emphasize that interpersonal relationships and personal histories of people should be allowed to transfer between generations naturally as they believe cloning is interference in this process.
Many religious organizations like the Catholic Church oppose all forms of cloning based on the belief that life begins at conception. Critics also say that clones tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection, tumor growth, and other disorders which has a major health implication. Most troubling is the legal concerns regarding the protection of the identity of the individual and the right to protect one’s genetic identity. There is still no consensus on parenthood of a human clone and whether a clone child will have an open future. (Human Gerome Project, 2008)
During pregnancy, the mother and the child are all and the same thing hence a lot of caution should be exercised on food and any substance consumed by the mother. Pregnant mothers should particularly refrain from smoking as this affects the mental and motor development of the child. Smoking constricts blood vessels hence limiting nutrients and oxygen supply to the foetus. This can result in mental disability or less brain weight. Their can also be developmental disability as well as poor coordination of motor skills when born.