HUMAN CLONING - THE FUTURE OR BANNED FOREVER?
By Shai Kuganesan and Serena Hart
Human cloning is a controversial topic despite whoever you ask. Every person has their own opinion on whether human cloning is ethical and whether it would be beneficial to society and science. Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. Currently there are two main methods of cloning, therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning involves taking the nucleus out of a human egg cell and then putting the nucleus from a patient’s cell into the enucleated egg cell. The egg cell is then stimulated to develop into an embryo and embryonic stem cells are taken. These stems cells are unspecialized and can differentiate into any cell required, thus by changing the environment, they can be forced to develop into the required cell types. By cultivating them as specific cells, they can be extremely useful in treating certain diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes where a specific type of cell has died. Reproductive cloning is when can be done in a similar manner to therapeutic cloning, where you enucleate an egg cell and insert DNA from the ‘original’ into it. The fused cell develops into an embryo which is then placed into the uterus of a foster mother. The new born will be a clone of the ‘original’. Reproductive cloning can also be carried out by beginning with IVF and when the embryo divides into identical cells, they are separated and allowed to develop separately, and can be implanted into a uterus. This method is like the natural formation of identical twins. Both types of cloning seem to have many pros and cons for humans.
Could human cloning really be the way forward for the future? Well human cloning could actually lead to many positive outcomes for everyone.
1. It could eliminate defective genes.
Genetic illnesses are not too large a problem now but in the future due to our continual reproduction leading to an increase in damaged DNA lines which creates defective and mutated genes, they could pose a problem. However, they can easily be eliminated with healthy cloned human cells.
2. It is considered the next step in reproductive technology.
Identical twins are natural clones it could be said that reproductive cloning is only the technological version of the process. It could be the solution for infertile couples or ones that have lost their children. Furthermore, those that have made significant contributions to the arts, science, literature etc. could be cloned to produce more of them to contribute more to their fields.
3. It could aid in faster recovery from traumatic injuries.
For professional athletes with tone ACLs or those involved in awful traffic accident and became quadriplegic, recovery time can be long or it may be impossible for them to fully recover. Cloning their own cells could reduce recovery time and allow true healing to occur.
4. It could cure some disorders.
It could potentially help cure certain disorders as damaged human organs and tissues could be replaced by cloned human cells. Although the possible benefits of human cloning are not fully known, many scientists argue that such technology could entirely transform the ways by which many disorders are being performed and the process is even simpler than organ transplants.
5. It could be the solution to the Nature vs Nurture question
Bringing up genetically identical people in different conditions and witnessing the type of people they become would answer the question about whether it is your genetics or your upbringing that make you the person you are. This question has divided the scientific community for centuries and human cloning could finally answer it.
That’s not to say that there are no downsides to human cloning
· It has seen a lot of failure
· It could be used for exploitation
· It is just a completely morally wrong idea for many
· Could lead to things such as “designer babies” where parents choose the phenotype of their child
· It goes against religious ethics
· It could decrease the overall value of human life
· It could bring forth a reduced sense of individuality
· It interferes with nature
· It causes divide between many people
Human cloning is extremely controversial, as one’s religion, culture, environment and character can lead to widely varying opinions regarding it. 70 countries were reported to have banned human cloning in 2015, but therapeutic cloning is widely used as it can help treat many diseases, as specific cells and organs can be made that your body won’t reject as being foreign, due to them containing the same genetic information. Reproductive cloning is an entirely new topic that hasn’t really been explored as much due to the current bans across many countries. It has been speculated that about 4 clones of one person can be made (because of how hard humans are to clone compared to cats or dogs), but even after 21 years from Dolly the Sheep, no human clones are around. Another huge factor preventing human cloning is that there is currently no profit motive for firms to exploit. We will just have to wait and see whether human cloning becomes the next big revolutionising technological breakthrough or whether it will even be legal in the future.