week 6/cloning/alice nakata

I have recently finished reading a book titled Angel Maker (by Stefan Brijs) which is based on religion vs cloning. I don’t plan to talk about the aspect of religion in this blog, for it might take for ever for me to finish writing about that topic. I would like to state some cloning facts and my viewpoint on the scientific method, especially of human cloning.

The Human Genome Project states there are 3 different types of cloning: copying genes and other pieces of chromosomes to generate enough identical material, splitting a developing embryo soon after fertilization of the egg by a sperm to give rise to two or more embryos, and as in the production of Dolly, using somatic cell nuclear transfer in which scientists transferred genetic material from the nucleus of an adult animal’s udder cell to an egg whose nucleus, and thus its genetic material, had been removed (http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blcloning.htm). These procedures are not impossible to perform… But many ethical issues are stopping scientists from carrying out the procedure.

In Angel Maker, there is a doctor who succeeds to clone himself. Cloning humans, in reality, in a very controversial topic. In August of 1997, President Clinton proposed legislation to ban the cloning of humans for at least 5 years. The following month, thousands of biologists and physicians signed a voluntary five-year moratorium on human cloning in the United States, because of the issues (http://atheism.about.com/library/chronologies/blchron_sci_cloning.htm).

And here are just some of the issues concerning human cloning:

Does an embryo, at whatever stage of its existence, have the same rights as human beings? If a clone is created from an existing person, who is the parent? Will cloned children face any social repercussions? Is it ethically right to harvest organs from clones?

And here are my viewpoints on them:

As a cloned embryo, I think s/he would be able to have all human rights. After all, it has the same genetic material as another human being, thus making the clone no less than human. I understand that these embryos are not conceived naturally, but I see the fact that they are made up human genes and material to be a heavier factor than abnormal conceiving procedures.

If a clone is from an existing person, the clone-donor should be the parent. In most cases, I believe the clone-donor is the one requesting to be cloned. Therefore, s/he would have to have full responsibility of the newborn clone. Taking care of a baby who is actually you… Awkward.

Will cloned children face any social repercussions? I can’t help but to think of all the bullying that would go on in the child’s life. Many might be teased by the fact that they are not original, their parents made them, and that their parents are what they’re going to turn out like. They might even get comments as “you’re not human.”

Harvesting organs from clones, however, is not too bad of an idea to me. But I would like to change this up a bit. I think if we are able to clone just the organs, it would be much more accepting than to clone a human and to take the clone’s organs away. Then many lives can be saved with no donor wait lists and with no bad reactions (if you are able to clone the organs from your own body).

Overall, I think cloning humans is a bad idea. There is too many problems that would come along with it. Cloning itself is not a bad idea though. As I said before, if we are able to clone organs, it would be used for the better. And if we can clone endangered species of plants and animals, that would be great too. But not humans. There would never be an ethically correct answer to be able to clone humans.

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