Cloning Is Not All Bad
Cloning has been challenged by many ethical, legal and social issues. However, I believe that there are still positive reasons on why cloning should pursue and not be banned or limit. This is as long as the cloning technologies will be responsibly used, especially if it is used for the benefits of many people.
The asexual reproduction which means reproduction without fertilization is what we refer to as cloning (Harris 2004). Asexual reproduction produces offspring with identical genes of a single parent organism (Freudenrich 2008).
Cloning has two processes in which a cloned individual may be produced. One is embryo splitting which may result to either monozygotic twins or identical triplets, and sometimes quadruplets. Another is Cell Nuclear Replacement (CNR) or Cell Nuclear Transfer (CNT), the procedure used to produce Dolly in 1997, the first animal cloned. Two cells are involved in the CNR process – a recipient or an egg cell and a donor cell (Harris 2004). The birth of Dolly prompted the scientific experiments on cloning even though cloning has been used for many years in producing plants. After Dolly, other animals such as cows and mice were also cloned. From the success of cloning animals, debates between scientists, politicians and general public arises. The arguments revolve around the morality and use of cloning plants, animals and the possibility of cloning even human beings (Freudenrich 2008).
So what do the people say against the cloning technology? First is the risk of cloning. One risk is the high failure rate. For every 1000 attempts, there are one to 30 clones made which means 970 to 999 of 1000 trials failed. The success rate is only 0.1 to 3 percent. This happens when the enucleated egg and the transferred nucleus are not compatible; an egg with new transferred nucleus did not divide or develop; failure of implantation of embryo into the surrogate mother, and failure of the pregnancy (The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center 2008).
There are also problems in the later development of the cloned animals. When they are born, some tend to be larger compared to not cloned animals. This is what scientists refer as Large Offspring Syndrome or LOS. Abnormally large organs which can lead to problems in breathing and blood flow, is one characteristic of cloned animals with LOS. Other problems in the development of cloned animals are the malformations of brain and kidney and impaired immune system (The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center 2008).
Since researches in cloning started for not that long time ago, I believe it is just normal that scientists experience failure in experiments especially if it is more of a trial-and-error. The idea is it has to pursue so that the desired outcome will be attained. Then, the risks mentioned above will less likely to occur.
There’s another argument which is on the possibility of cloning human. One argument against cloning human is that the human genome is important to preserve as common heritage of humanity as regarded by UNESCO (Harris 2004). Center for Genetics and Society (2008) includes in the list of arguments against cloning the reason that “reproductive cloning would diminish the sense of uniqueness of an individual … would violate deeply and widely held convictions concerning human individuality and freedom, and could lead to a devaluation of clones in comparison with non-clones.”
This will be true maybe at some point of the existence of cloned individuals. But time will come that people will embrace their existence as part of the present day. I am not yet in favor of cloning human, as it is still questionable for me. So I’d like to again make it clear that my point is that cloning is not all bad. There are just some restrictions needed.
On the other hand, the following are what other people say in favor of the cloning, which I happen to take side with and believe to be acceptable. Most arguments fall on medical uses of cloning.
Of the major purposes of cloning is in medical field, an example would be cloning animal models of disease. We all know that most researches on human diseases became possible through studying animals such as mice. Mice happen to have a similar system structure to that of human. These animal models are transgenic animals, meaning they are genetically engineered so that they can carry disease-causing mutations in their genes. However, it is time-intensive to produce genetically-engineered animals through trial-and-error and breeding. But with the aid of cloning, time required in producing transgenic animal models will be reduced and there may be population of genetically identical animal models (The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center 2008).
Another medical use is cloning stem cells for research which most researchers now is taking in considerations. Stem cells, the building blocks of the body, can be used to repair organs and tissues with disease or are damaged. Stem cells are responsible in the development, maintenance and repair of the body (The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center 2008).
A large number of genetically engineered animals used in Pharmaceuticals are also possible to be produced because of cloning. Genetically engineered animals are not used as models only but as well as in producing drugs and proteins in medicine. Some examples are farms animals like cows, sheep and goats (The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center 2008).
And one good reason of cloning may be to save the species of animals that are becoming extinct nowadays. This is through the use of DNA from well-preserved samples of tissue (The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center 2008).
In cloning human, some of the reasons in favor are that cloning can help the infertile couples to have children, or to replace a deceased child (The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center 2008). This is still in question facing ethical, social and legal challenges.
But then, while cloning human is still in question, it does not necessarily mean that cloning is bad. Because we can still find many good reasons on why cloning technologies should pursue like the reasons mentioned in this paper – producing drugs, saving endangered animals, curing diseases and others.
Freudenrich (2008) argues that “whatever the reasons, the new cloning technologies have sparked many ethical debates among scientists, politicians and the general public. Several governments have considered or enacted legislation to slow down, limit or ban cloning experiments outright.” As Freudenrich (2008) says “it is clear that cloning will be a part of our lives in the future, but the course of this technology has yet to be determined.”
So let me end this by saying that cloning is not all bad, as long as responsibilities are being taken cared of, that there are certain measures being taken to avoid unnecessary things to happen, and that the technology will not be abused. There should be restrictions set, and legal authorities may help us with that through providing laws.
The debate on cloning will still go on, I believe, as the research is still being furnished and perfected. On whatever side we take, I just want to say that we should always be critical and always think on what it will do for the good of many and not just for one or small number of individuals.
Freudenrich, Craig. “How Cloning Works.” 2008. Howstuffworks. 21 April 2008 <http://science.howstuffworks.com/cloning4.htm>.
Harris, John. On the Cloning. New York: Poutledge, 2004.
“Reproductive Cloning Arguments Pro and Con.” 15 May 2006. Center for Genetics and Society. 21 April 2008. < http://geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=282>.
“What are the Risks of Cloning.” 2008. The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center. 16 April 2008 <http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/units/cloning/cloningrisks/>.
“Why Clone?” 2008. The University of Utah, Genetic Science Learning Center. 16 April 2008 <http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/units/cloning/whyclone/>.