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At a quarter past 6 on the 24th of February 1997 most news stations around the world broke the news that in the Roslin Institute in Scotland a scientist named Ian Wilmut and his research team had successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly. Until the birth of Dolly, the first mammal to be successfully cloned, it was thought that the ability to clone an adult human was impossible and would be for the foreseeable future. For the everyday Joe this was not an important event but to the scientists, politicians and world media this was the cause of heated discussions.
These advances in cloning are leading the way forward for the cloning of an adult human, which brings up many new ethical and complicated questions that a lot of people feel must be addressed by the scientific community and the public before these advances can reach their full potential. The people who believe we shouldn’t be against cloning claim that it would benefit thousands of families. One in ten people are touched by cancer; Parkinson’s disease or hereditary diseases would be able to use the cells of the clone to cure the real person.
And very soon most people’s children will be immune to many forms of disease which many scientists today would call incurable. Another point they make is that millions of people a year need transplant organs for some reasons or another whether it has just given up or that been damaged in an accident. There is usually a shortage and even when doctors do find a donor the body sometimes rejects the new organ. But if cloning was made possible you would be able to clone body organs which would be beneficial to a person who has lost one as it would work better than a transplant organ.
Even now in N. Ireland there is a shortage and this sort of cloning would be greatly needed. A further claim the people who are for cloning make is that it would be beneficial to the animal world. Scientists have already been able to clone animals as we have seen with Dolly. Scientists are now starting to revolutionize the extinction process. Schemes have started to clone animals, which are close to extinction like the tiger in Asia, and the Rhino in Africa and save them from total extinction.
Furthermore they believe this would help maintain a natural balance on the earth to have a continuos natural life cycle. The people who believe that cloning is right claim that it has invaluable use as it could benefit couples who are infertile and want to have a child of their own. Thus they could use cloning to produce a baby with their similar characteristics to them or furthermore they would be able to choose the characteristics of their child. The people who support cloning examine the religious aspect of cloning and how religion backs their argument.
They claim that anyone who believes that God exists knows that the human family began with one man, and that a wife, miraculously created from his own body and as unique and original a creation as Adam himself formed the first family. Though God’s creation of Eve was far from cloning, it is interesting to note that God’s own words say that he used Adams rib-bone and tissue to create Eve! The people who believe that cloning is ethical say this shows to us that God had to clone Adam to create Eve’s body structure.
The people opposed to cloning argue that they are not alone in their stand against it. Some of the most powerful people in the world have felt compelled to act against this threat. President Clinton swiftly imposed a ban on federal funding for human-cloning research. Bills were immediately put into the works in the House of Commons and all over the world to outlaw human-cloning which it takes to be a fundamentally evil thing that must be stopped. Even today many countries have made it illegal including Ireland, England and France.
The people against cloning even have the public on their side as was seen on the 10th March 1997 when Time magazine reported that a survey asking, “Cloning is it right,” found that 74% of the people interviewed thought it was wrong. The people against cloning claim that the physical damage that could be done if human cloning became a reality it is obvious when one looks at the sheer loss of life that occurred before the birth of Dolly. Less than 10% of the initial transfers survived to be healthy creatures.
There were 277 trial implants of nuclei, 19 of those were deemed healthy while the others were discarded. 5 of the 19 survived, but 4 of them died within 10 days of birth with sever abnormalities. Dolly was the only one to survive. Furthermore they claim that if those nuclei were human, “the cellular body count would look like sheer carnage. ” Another claim they make is that in addition to physical harms, there are worries about the psychological harms on cloned children. One of these is the loss of identity, or sense of individuality and uniqueness.
Many argue that cloning creates serious issues of identity and individuality and forces humans to consider the definition of self. Thus, leading to creation of genetically engineered groups of people for specific purposes and chances are that these individuals would be regarded as objects rather than people in the society. Furthermore the people who believe the argument against cloning primarily believe that cloning would intervene with the normal, “cycle of life. ” There would be large numbers of identical genes, which minimizes the chances of mutation, and in turn, evolution.
Life processes failing to evolve would result in untimely extinction of the human race. In conclusion, I would like to say that, as you have seen above, cloning could be used in various ways to benefit the lives of humans. It is inevitable that cloning, at some stage, will play an important, if not vital, part in our lives. Therefore it is about time in my opinion that society accepts this fact and lifts all constraints upon cloning so that more research can be carried out and help eliminate any risks associated with cloning.