Understanding the Concept of Cloning (Term Paper Sample)
the task was to write a term paper at the end of a course on ethics in health care. students were required to submit a paper that explores an ethical issue and I chose cloning which is one of the most controversial and fiercely debated topics. The required length for this paper was 2200 words.source..
Scientists refer to cloning as the distinct processes that involve making copies of biological material like genes and cells. The cloning of genes plays a fundamental role in science as it has led to new developments developed to treat illnesses such as diabetes. There have been successful attempts to clone animals and these have improved the quality of life. The success of animal cloning has increased concerns over the potential of producing a human clone. In 1996, researchers in Scotland used somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) to produce a sheep named Dolly, which was the first cloned adult mammal (Ayala, 2015). Six years later, Dolly was euthanized following a lung infection and the condition is attributed to the fact that it was a clone. Some researchers, however, believe that it was due to the specialized care that Dolly received rather than being treated as a pastured sheep. Either way, this constitutes the diverse points of view that stakeholders have pertaining to human cloning.
In the present day, scientists use animals to study human diseases and interventions. Recent literature in this field reveals that scientists can make use of clones to enhance the speed of drug discovery. Clones convey more uniform responses to drugs compared to genetically unrelated persons since they have less genetic variations. Increasing the speed at which scientists discover drugs can be beneficial as it would have people heal at a faster rate. Human cloning should be legalized and practiced owing to its potential advantages. The moral and ethical issues only constitute fear of the unknown as there are insufficient facts regarding cloning, and research cannot be done with the current laws deterring any attempts to clone human genes.
Human Cloning: The Concept
Biology is the most intimate of sciences given that it deals with some of the amazing life occurrences. It embodies birth and reproduction as well as human abilities and limitations. It explores scientific explanations of various things and tries to get a comprehension of how they occur. Considering the new repertoire of tools in cloning and genetic engineering, biology has not only become the science of what we are; it is now a science of what people can become. Regardless of the knowledge scientists can know about the human body and processes, people will always remain to be humans guided by rules and customs.
The idea of human cloning may sound like science fiction although scientists have now made it a reality. The concept has received a lot of criticism and governments have enacted highly restrictive guidelines. It is crucial to gain a better understanding of the issue to determine whether these cautions are valid. Ideally, cloning involves removing the nucleus of an egg and then transplanting the human body cell into this egg (Ayala, 2015). The zygote is then triggered to divide and produce an embryo. At this stage, it is essential to make the distinction between the two distinct types of cloning. On the one hand (reproductive cloning), the blastocyst embryo may be placed into a uterus to create a newborn (Lavi, 2015). On the other hand, the cells may be isolated from the blastocyst and these will be utilized to create stem cell lines (Ayala, 2015). In therapeutic cloning, stem cells are used to regenerate the damaged tissues of a patient.
Some of the earliest known scientific experiments in animal cloning date back to the nineteenth century. During this period, scientists discovered that the division of cells leads to two new cells that constitute half of the genetic material of the initial cell. Researchers conducted experiments with frogs and observed that after the first division, the other cell developed into half a frog (Hayry, 2018). Other divisions would later result in the creation of specialized tissue. This marked the beginning of later research on cloning and attempts to clone mammals. The most popular case of cloning is Dolly the Sheep that became the first mammal to be cloned back in 1996 (Langlois, 2017). Even in this case, the clone had to be euthanized in 2003 after it developed a lung infection. Various researchers give distinct reasons for the failure of this first mammal clone and use this to object human cloning.
Since the first day the concept of cloning was proposed, some critics have condemned the idea and adjacent genetic alterations. According to Ayala (2015) human cloning “may refer to “therapeutic cloning,” particularly the cloning of embryonic cells to obtain organs for transplantation or for treating injured nerve cells and other health purposes” (p. 8833). From this definition, the aim of cloning is to enhance the genes of mankind. For instance, human clones would perform exceptionally in sports, music, and academics, among others. There is technology to conduct human cloning although the international community does not embrace the idea. Instead, some laws and regulations prohibit any attempts to clone humans.
Benefits of Cloning
Cloning plays a fundamental role in human health and quality of life. Particularly, therapeutic cloning has great potential medically being a “source of compatible tissue and organs for those who need transplants” (p. 2). This technique works through the removal of the nucleus of an egg cell and replacing it with the material from the nucleus of a somatic cell (Ayala, 2015). The cell is then triggered to begin dividing. It is worth noting that there is no fertilization of the egg cell by sperm. Further, the generic material is virtually identical to the genetic material that emanates from another cell. Using this method, scientists can treat medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease or diabetes. There is currently no other technique that can accomplish this and SCNT fills the gap in unmet medical needs.
Today, cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally and is an increasing medical burden. Currently, the most common methods of treating the condition include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgical resection. But these treatments have side effects and there is the issue of drug resistance that hinders the efficiency of the therapeutic options. Fortunately, research on the human embryonic stem could change this narrative. Stem cells convey unique characteristics like migrating toward cancer cells and immunosuppression (Savulescu et al., 2015). These properties promote the targeting of tumors and help to overcome previous obstacles in common interventions. Still, there is a need for more research concerning the use of stem cell therapies. There is a huge potential for stem cells to foster the treatment of cancer and this will help to save millions of lives globally.
One of the essential issues for human health in medicine is to prevent pathological conditions that emerge as a result of aging like cognitive disorders. At least every living creature experiences aging which is characterized by the functional decline of the body organs and cells. Researchers have not yet understood the process of aging completely, although scientists widely contend that the fundamental cause of functional declines is because of the exhaustion of stem cell functions (Honoki, 2017). Recent studies suggest that the senescence of a cell can be reset through SCNT owing to the potential of the resulting embryo to carry 32 division rounds as opposed to another embryo (Honoki, 2017). Again, there is insufficient evidence to illustrate that this can happen. It is a huge potential and could help to avoid the medical conditions that are accompanied by aging.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of cloning is that infertile couples would still be capable of having children. There are millions of couples worldwide who are incapable of conceiving. The only available option for such families is to adopt a child, and this has helped many to enjoy the opportunity to bring up a child. This method does not directly address the issue which is for couples to have their biological children. With cloning, a couple would be able to have a biological child and would overcome the issue of infertility. This is an option that many people would consider as long as it technically works. Researchers have not been able to proceed with their studies on human cloning owing to ethical, moral, and legal issues.
In fiction, human cloning appears as a very possible and interesting concept that would overcome numerous obstacles in medicine. In reality, there are a lot of risks for the growth and survival of the clones. A lot of the criticism against cloning comes from renowned scientists who understand the risks and dangers of human cloning. Embryos get lost before they reach their birth stage and the clones tend to have abnormalities. Nasrullah et al. (2020) observe, “the percentage of cloned organisms to reach the period of adulthood is very low at 0.3% for cows and less than 1% for sheep” (p. 104). The results of human cloning would most likely be similar to low survival rates. Since clones are not subjected to the same environment as children who are born naturally, they are likely to suffer specific health issues. Scientifically, cloning would only be slightly successful even with the latest technology.
Numerous studies show most people disapprove of the idea of human cloning. Only thirteen percent of Americans think that human cloning is morally acceptable (May, 2016). The main reason is that some people perceive the human embryo as an individualized entity or person. This means that the embryo should enjoy equal rights as any other human. From the first day of the human...
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