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Human Cloning

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Human Cloning

One of the most recent controversial issues facing our society today is the concept of cloning. It has been an ongoing debate on whether it is ethical or unethical. In order to fully understand the issue, one must look at its origin, how it has developed through time, and at the two conflicting sides.

On February 23, 1997, Dr. Ian Wilmut, a Scottish scientist, along with his colleagues at the Institute at PPL Therapeutics, announced to the world that they had cloned a lamb, which they called Dolly, after Dolly Parton, from and adult sheep (Bailey). The two share the same nucleic DNA, but differ in terms of their mitochondrial DNA, which is vitally important for the regulation of the cell. The media and the press ignored this fact, and claimed that Dolly and her "mother" were genetically identical, which sparked and outcry all around the world (Commonweal).

Up until now scientists thought that adult cells could not be "reprogrammed" to behave like a fertilized egg and create and embryo. The evidence obtained by Dolly's success proves otherwise. The issue of cloning has been around for a long time, starting with the publication of Joshua Lederberg's 1966 article on cloning in the American Naturalist. The public's interest has been sparked by many sci-fi books, films, and movies. The ethical, legal, and moral issues aroused by cloning have been raised by previous projects and are now emerging again with its focus on three major points: The shift from sexual reproduction to asexual replication of existing genes, the ability to predetermine the genes of the child, and the ability to create many genetically identical children (Commonweal).

The public responded to Dolly with a mixture of fear and excitement, questioning the benefits and the disasters that could happen in the future if research was to continue. From a poll taken by Maurice Bernstein, M.D., the results show that 72% of the voters said that cloning for any reason should be prohibited by law. They believe that cloning for any reason would be unethical and an immoral thing to do. A common misconception of cloning is that it is the instantaneous creation of a fully-grown adult from the cells of the individual. Also, that an exact copy, although much younger, of an existing person could be made reflecting the belief that one's gene bear a simple relationship to the physical and psychological traits that make up a person (Best).

This is one point that those against cloning are often worried about. That the clone would have no soul, no mind, no feelings, or emotions of their own, no say in how their life will be with their destiny predetermined for them, and that each individual clone would not be unique. They are also afraid that the clone will not be treated like a person, more like a worthless second copy, or a fill-in



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