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April 05, 2017

Essay : Human Cloning - A Moral Dilemma

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Human Cloning - A Moral Dilemma

Overview
  • Definition of cloning and its process. 
  • Types of cloning. 
  • Advantages of human cloning. 
  • Disadvantages of cloning.
Cloning is the process of producing an organism that is an exact replica of the parent. The organism thus produced is known as a clone and is genetically identical to the parent. The process of cloning requires a mature somatic (except sperms and egg) cell from the body of the parent animal. In the case of normal reproduction event, half of the DNA is from father and half is from the mother which induces the variations in an individual and as a result creates the individual, who has its own unique DNA.

The process of cloning requires the removal of a somatic cell from the body of the parent and this cell is the source of DNA for the clone. As the probability of sexual reproduction is ruled out, the probability of variation is also ruled out and this results in producing an exact replica or clone of the individual parent. The cloned egg is allowed to mature into the early embryonic stage before it is implanted in the womb of a female for gestation. The individual who is born out of this process is known as a clone.


There are two types of cloning namely therapeutic and reproductive. The only difference between the two is that the embryo is not transferred in the womb of the mother in the therapeutic cloning. The sheep, Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned.

Proponents of human cloning swear by the advantages it will offer to the humans. Scientists are of the opinion that they can reverse the ageing process, as well as the heart attacks. Heart attack victims can be treated by cloning and injecting of healthy cells in the areas of the heart that have been damaged. This will lead to shortening of the organ donation list and save more lives.

In fact, the chances of rejection will be less in such cases as this will not be recognised as a foreign body by the human body. Embryonic stem cells can be used to produce organs, tissues or repair the damaged ones. Skin, brain, hearts, lungs and kidneys etc can be produced utilising these cells. Conditions such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease can also be cured with the help of cloning. Cloning can be helpful in genetics.

The scientists can gather a better understanding of the genes their patterns, and effects on human traits. This could be helpful in doing away with many genetic diseases. With cloning at their hands, researchers can easily clone the organism as per their requirements of research. These organisms could be used for the purpose of research. The process of healing and recovery would also be narrowed down with the use of the individual's own cell.

Reproductive cloning is helpful for the childless couples. The infertile individuals who have lost their ability to produce reproductive cells can experience the joy of parenthood. In fact, same sex couples can have children through this method. The clones of endangered animals can be created to increase their population.

Although the scientists were successful in creating clones from the skin cells of infants and human beings, none of these embryos were allowed to mature. A number of ethical concerns overpower the same. In the case of reproductive cloning, one of the major concerns is that the children will be designed and replicated as per the parents' wish. This will lead to the lack of uniqueness among the children.

This, in turn, will give rise to the concerns regarding the human individuality and freedom. Another important ethical concern is that the children living under the shadow of their genetic donor will always be expected to live up to the images of the persons from whom they were created. Religious groups are of the opinion that cloning is against God creation and nature, as the clone would be created by man.

Cloning research requires a supply of human eggs. Every month, a normal healthy woman usually produces one or two mature eggs. But, in order to increase the number significantly, doses of stimulatory medications which are used in WE procedures must be given to the woman.

In rare cases, these drugs can provoke a hyperstimulation syndrome that can lead to liver damage, kidney failure or stroke. Such drugs are known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. In fact, the surgery to retrieve the eggs also has risks associated with it. In case the woman is offered commercial benefits for providing eggs, the value of the human reproductive material is restricted to a commodity.

While on one hand cloning of body organs can be helpful in organ replacement, there is a chance that people may deliberately reproduce other individuals with undesired traits. This will lead to the increase in malpractices in the society.


One of the major concerns in regards to cloning is that if the individuals with identical genes are created, this will lead to the lack of diversity. This, in turn, would lower the human race's ability to adapt. There is quite possibility, that the age of the donor could be imprinted on the growing embryo. This may cause premature ageing issues and lead to death.

Almost millions of cells are shed throughout the day by an individual. In case, human cloning is granted an official status, such cells can be used by people to create clones. This could lead to serious implications.

Cloning is a vast subject and it is difficult to find a solution to various issues related to cloning. The risks and possible demerits far outnumber the suggested benefits of cloning. However, restrictions on cloning can hinder important research and progress in the field of animal biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry.

Reproductive cloning should be banned universally owing to ethical and health issues, but research on therapeutic cloning can be carried out effectively under strict restrictions and supervision. This will empower the human species to reap the benefits of cloning while reducing the risks of the same.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Dilemma a situation which makes problems, often one in which you have to make a very difficult choice between things of equal importance
  • Induce to cause something
  • Somatic cells cells from any part of the body excepting reproductive cells like sperms and eggs
  • Probability how likely something is to happen
  • Replica a very good or exact copy of something
  • Gestation the time that the young of a person or an animal develops inside its mother's body until it is born, the process of developing inside the mother's body
  • Proponent a person who supports an idea or course of action
  • Swear by to be certain that something is good or useful
  • Embryonic of an embryo (a young animal or plant in the very early stages of development before birth, or before coming out of its egg or seed, especially a human egg in the first eight weeks after fertilisation
  • Genetics the study of genes (the units in the cells of a living thing that control its physical characteristics)
  • Trait a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person
  • Ethical connected with beliefs and principles about what is right and wrong
  • Stimulatory something which makes a part of the body function more activity
  • Retrieve to bring or get something back, especially from a place where it should not be.
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
 
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