Human Cloning

Imagine it is the year 2008. As you pick up your
daily issue of the New York Times, you begin to
read some of the interesting articles on the front
page. The top story of the paper reads, “Germany
Wins All Gold Medals at the Olympic Games: Is
Cloning in Competitive Events Fair?” Other
interesting articles reported on the front page
include: “Rock Star Stacy Levesque and Lover’s
Nuclear Transplanted Child is Born” and “Former
President George Bush’s Cloned Heart Transplant
A Success.” These articles are examples of how
much of an influence cloning can be in the future.

Although these articles would have seemed
science fiction several years ago, the idea of
cloning became a reality in 1997. On February 27,
1997, it was reported that scientist produced the
first clone of an adult sheep, attracting international
attention and raising questions of whether cloning
should take place. Within days, the public called
for ethics inquires and new laws to ban cloning.

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The potential effects of cloning are unimaginable.

What would life be like with women who are able
to give birth to themselves, cloned humans who
are used for “spare parts”, and genetically superior
cloned humans? Based on the positive advances
of cloning versus the negative effects, one must
ask his/herself whether cloning humans should be
banned entirely.


According to the American Heritage College
Dictionary, cloning is “to reproduce or propagate
asexually.” This definition means that cloning
enables the creation of offspring without any
sexual action or sexual contact. There are several
methods for cloning: separating the embryo and
making twins with the same genetic make-up,
taking a cell from a fertilized ovum when the cell
begins to split and replace it in another female’s
ovum, or nuclear transplantation. In the 10 March
1998 issue of Time, J. Madeleine Nash explains
one example of how a clone of an adult ewe is
“born” from nuclear transplantation. First, a cell is
taken from the udder of an adult ewe and placed
in a culture with very low concentrations of
nutrients. As the cells starve, they stop dividing
and switch off their active genes, and go into
hibernation. An unfertilized egg is then taken from
another adult ewe and the egg’s nucleus, along
with its DNA, is sucked out, leaving an empty egg
cell that still has the cellular machinery to produce
an embryo. The empty egg and the culture of
starved cells are then placed next to each other.

Then an electronic pulse causes the egg and the
cells to fuse together and a second burst is given
to jump-start the cell division. Six days later, the
embryo is implanted in the uterus of another ewe.

The result of this process will be the birth of a
baby sheep, having identical genes as the first
sheep from which the cells were extracted from
the udder. Although scientist understand how
cloning is possible and what the cloning methods
are, exactly how the adult DNA changes once
inside the egg still remains a question. Whichever
method is used to create a clone, the outcome
remains the same – cloning is duplicating an exact
copy of another life form.
The term “cloning” was first introduced in 1903 by
Herbert John Webber as a new horticultural term
and was first applied to manmade populations of
cultivated plants. In the early 1980’s, scientists
developed a procedure called nuclear transfer that
enabled scientists to replace the DNA-containing
nucleus of an egg cell with a nucleus from another
cell. At Allegheny University of the Health
Sciences, scientists raised a crop of tadpoles from
the red blood cells of adult frogs; however, this
experiment failed when the tadpoles died halfway
through metamorphosis. Last year in the 27
February issue of Nature, Mr. Wilmut and his
colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh,
Scotland successfully created a clone of an adult
ewe and named her Dolly. Dolly was “born” by
taking genetic material from cells in the mammary
glands of a 6 year-old ewe and putting the
acquired cells into an unfertilized ovum. Out of
277 tries, researchers eventually produced only 29
embryos that survived longer than 6 days, of these
29, all died before birth except Dolly. Since Dolly
was born, scientists have made additional
advances in cloning, and now harbor the concept
of cloning humans.


Those who support cloning argue that cloning can
benefit the human race and society by contributing
to medical and psychological studies, allowing
infertile mothers to have biological children, and
cloning animals or humans to attain needed organs.

Many medical researchers can utilize cloned genes
to diagnosis many genetic diseases. By cloning
genes, scientists can create hundreds of identical
genes and diagnose mutations that result in the
disease. By being able to work with identical
genes, it would allow scientists to experiment with
trial and error and compare the results of their
experiments. By using cloned genes for medical
research purposes, it is possible to find cures to
AIDS, cancer, and other biological diseases much
more quickly. Other researchers who could
benefit from cloning are psychologists. Last year,
in my high school Psychology class, we debated
whether a person’s personality was predetermined
by his genetic makeup, or if his/her environment
shaped his/her personality. This debate could
easily be solved with the help of clones. For
example, psychologists could take several
genetically identical clones and raise them in
various families with varied social statuses and
lifestyles. As these clones grow in their respective
environments, psychologist would be able to
monitor their respective personalities and draw
conclusions to answer the debate. Another group
of people who would benefit from cloning is
infertile women. Many woman throughout the
world cannot become pregnant because they are
infertile. Although these women have the option to
adopt, the fact remains that their adopted child is
not biologically their own. However, by cloning
the infertile woman’s DNA and transplanting the
DNA into another woman’s ovum, the baby will
be born as the biological child of the infertile
mother. Another fact that I found in my research
was the fact that there are approximately 50,000
people on the National Waiting List for an organ
transplant and out of these 50,000 people, only
20,000 will actually receive a transplant. If
scientists could clone human organs, thousands of
people who are awaiting an organ transplant could
be saved. By cloning humans, surgeons could reap
the organs of cloned individuals, without actually
killing a human being. This process of growing
human life as material is called “organ farming.”
Through my research I have found that the
majority of people who support the applications of
cloning have been from the medical or science
communities. However, there are also many
individuals outside of science and medicine who
also support cloning. For example, Nicholas
Coote, assistant general secretary of the Roman
Catholic Bishops Conference in England, defends
cloning humans by stating, “If I have a clone of me,
I am still unique as my clone has a consciousness
that is not mine.”
On the other side of the debate, those who
advocate the ban on cloning argue that cloning is
immoral and against God’s will. Many people feel
that scientist should not have the power to “play
God’ under any circumstances. In many religious
articles, the authors were appalled with the notion
that scientists were creating life. For thousands of
years, religion has taught that the only human
creations were Adam and Eve, and that only God
and heterosexual reproduction could create life.

Advocates of the ban on cloning believe that
cloning is immoral and sinful. Another viewpoint
against cloning, as E. V. Kontorovich said in his
National Review article, “Cloning would take the
humanity out of human reproduction.” Gary Bauer,
President of the Family Research Council also
stated, “Human cloning should be banned because
it transforms procreation into production where
human children are the customized products.”
Kontorovich and Bauer both imply that cloning
humans would destroy the concept of humanity.

Many people who support the ban on cloning feel
that cloning is manufacturing human lives as if they
were objects and not living beings. Another
consequence of cloning humans is the fact that if
offspring are identical to their parents, they cannot
evolve to adapt to their environment. E. V.

Kontorovich pointed this out in his National
Review article by stating, “It is necessary for
species to respond to environmental changes so
that the human species can evolve.” Although
scientist would be able to create genetically
superior humans at the moment, in the long run
humans may become less diverse and unable to
adapt to changing climates or other changes in
their environment. Also, many supporters of the
ban on cloning are worried that cloning could
replace the “average human” with genetically
superior clones, thus making the human race
obsolete. If Adolf Hitler would have had today’s
cloning technology he might have been able to
clone an army of genetically superior clones and
have taken over the world. Today, if a scientist,
who is capable of cloning humans, joins terrorist
organizations and clones a massive army of
military Generals, these organizations could
succeed where Hitler failed.


To begin my research to answer my thesis, I
visited the United States Military Academy
Library and looked through reference books to
get facts about human cloning and its possible
effects of society. My next step was to look
through scientific magazines to find published
articles concerning cloning. These articles
provided much information about cloning and the
process of cloning. To find as much information as
I could, I searched through articles on the library’s
catalog online, through scientific magazines, and
even though magazines on microfilm. When I felt
that I understood the facts concerning cloning, I
began to look through general magazines, articles
on the Internet, and Internet web pages. These
articles provided mostly opinions of the
controversial issue of cloning and I was able to
understand how different people viewed the issue
of cloning and why they felt the way they did.

After I gathered all of my information from
photocopying articles and taking notes, I
organized my information to match my outline and
began writing my research paper.


Cloning has become a very important issue that is
affecting our world. What would the world be like
with a superior race, such as the hypothetical
German Olympic teams of 2008 or with armies of
cloned humans conquering every continent on
Earth? Even if cloning is limited to medical
research, there will always be scientists who will
find ways to use cloning to their own personal
benefit. Consequently, even if cloning is limited to
medical research, there is still the risk of cloning
humans. We simply cannot play God and create
life because it is morally wrong and sinful, and
most importantly, dangerous. The only answer to
the cloning issue is to sacrifice the medical and
biological gains of cloning and put an absolute ban
on all cloning.
Sources
Hansen, Kristin. “Bauer Says Human Cloning Should Be
Banned.” Family Research Council, 29 January
1998, accessed 4 November 1998. Available from
http://www.frc.org/press/012998c.html
Karnad, Anand, Sergio Salazar, and Nikhil Patel.

“Cloning to Produce Recombinant DNA.” In Magill’s
Survey of Science, 2nd ed. Magill 505-511. Pasadena:
Salem Press, 1991.


Kontorovich, E. V. “Clone Wars: Asexual Revolution.”
National Review, 9 March 1998, accessed 4
November 1998. Available from
http://www.nationalreview.com/09mar98/kontorovich030998.html
Masood, Ehsan. “Cloning Technique Reveals Legal
Loophole.” Nature, 27 February 1998, 757.


Nash, J. Madeline. “The Age of Cloning.” Time, 10
March 1998, 62-65.
Pennisi, Elizabeth and Nigel Williams. “Will Dolly Send
in the Cones?” Science, 7 March 1997,
1415-1416.


Stearn, William T. “Clone.” In The Encyclopedia of
Biological Sciences, 2nd ed.


Taylor, Todd. “Xenotransplantation.” Cloning,
November 1997, accessed 6 November 1998. Available
from
http://sites.unc.edu/daniel/11fall97/finals11/brianne/cloning.html
Travis, J. “Ewe Again? Cloning From Adult DNA.”
Science News, 1 March 1997, 132.


Wilmut, I., A. E. Schnieke, J. McWhir, A.J. Kind, and K.

H. S. Campbell. “Viable offspring derived from
fetal and adult mammalian cells.” Nature, 27 February
1998, 810-813.