If there was one technology that the world never accepted, then it will be the cloning of humans. Just 30 hours after the news of a cloned lamb hit the streets, movements against human cloning already started forming (Pence 1998, p. 1). 90 days after the study, a law against human cloning was already being pushed. People claimed that there is no good reason to clone humans, and yet, how can this be known when there wasn’t enough time to discuss it? When the scientific community did not even have time to prove its advantages?
Most of the arguments against cloning are philosophical in nature. It is not about “scientific facts but about ethics, human nature and public policy” (Pence 1998, p. 3). If we look at human cloning in an objective point of view we will realize that there are certain merits to this technology. Certainly, there are disadvantages too, but whether the disadvantages outweigh the advantages is still a question unresolved today. Advantages of Human Cloning Human cloning becomes a good prospect when we talk about the issue of infertility and genetic illnesses.
In an article published by ScienceRay (Whatani 2008), it was mentioned that only half of the population of females are capable of gestation. Estimates show that current infertility treatments are only 10% effective (Benefits of Cloning n. d) hence, there are many couples who end up getting frustrated because of their inability to have children. With human cloning, there is no need for the egg to be fertilized, and there is no need to find a mate, and only one parent is needed to create a child (Teacher’s Domain 2010).
Researches show that an average person carries 8 defective genes (Benefits of Cloning n. d). In some cases, these genes are recessive and no symptoms will appear, but there are also instances when the genes are inherited by the children and they become dominant traits. Down’s syndrome and Tay Sach’s disease are just two genetic illnesses which can be inherited if reproduction is left to natural means. Though human cloning, parents can choose which genes their children will inherit, thereby allowing them to get rid of the defective genes.
Another advantage of cloning is that it is now possible to create organs which can be used for transplants (The Advantages of Cloning n. d). People with liver and kidney trouble no longer need to wait for a donor to get a transplant. People suffering from leukemia can get cloned marrow. Scientists will be able to produce effective therapy for cystic fibrosis if only they are allowed to test the technology for human cloning. Lastly, cloning will allow medical professionals to understand how cells differentiate and become cancer cells, thereby allowing the creation of a cure for the disease.
Disadvantages of Sexual Reproduction In several researches conducted (Science Daily 2006; Treisman 1976; Williams and Mitton 1973) it was discovered that sexual reproduction allows populations to adapt to their environment better because they are able to resist harmful mutations. Yet, sexually transmitted diseases are already so widespread that sex has become risky. Also, sexual reproduction has its costs wherein the female carry most of the burden, a situation called as the two-fold costs of sex (Science Daily 2006).
In his study, Ricardo Azevedo says that in order to overcome the two-fold cost of sex, two things must be true ‘”The production rate of harmful mutations must be relatively high, such that each individual acquires on average one or more harmful germline mutations not inherited from its parents. The second is that these harmful mutations must interact in a special way, called negative epistasis, such that adding more and more harmful mutations makes you progressively worse off (Science Daily 2006)”. This means that in order for genetic illnesses and harmful mutations to become extinct, these two conditions must take place.
Needless to say, there are no studies which show how prevalent negative epistasis is in nature, hence the extinction of genetic illnesses and mutations are purely by chance. With the world becoming even more chaotic because of the discovery of new incurable diseases and the rapidly degrading environment, there is a big possibility that the survival of humankind may need to rely with artificial means. With human cloning, it is now possible to create a healthier, if not a better race of individuals who are more resistant to mutations and have lesser diseases to endure (Phil for Humanity n. d).