Cloning the Human Race: The Importance and Advantages of Cloning Technology
Seah Nili (lkco@pacific.net.sg)
Ngee Ann Polytechnic
26th October 1999

THESIS: Human cloning and its technology are necessary and should be continued because the cures to diseases may be found, the infertility problem may be solved, and more geniuses may be produced.
 

I. The birth of Dolly the clone
II. Curing diseases
III. Relieving infertility
IV. Producing geniuses
V. The future of the human race
VI. References
VII. Bibliography


I. The birth of Dolly the clone

 Dolly’s entrance to this world marked a remarkable turning point in biological science. Her “quiet birth”, with no photographs or champagne, was on 5th July 1996 (Kolata, 1998, p. 2). Even her creator Ian Wilmut was not present then.

 The first cloned sheep was a breakthrough to scientists, for many saw the benefits lying ahead for humankind. The process Dolly was created from was nuclear transfer, where “the nucleus of a mature but unfertilized egg is removed and replaced with a nucleus obtained from a specialized cell of an adult (or fetal) organism (in Dolly’s case, the donor nucleus came from mammary gland epithelium)” (Kass & Wilson, 1998, p. 13).

 With this discovery, the possibility of human cloning was speculated. Many governments were eager to ban human cloning. An anticloning treaty has been signed among nineteen European nations, and Bill Clinton has imposed a five-year moratorium on human cloning. These are merely two examples of many other countries who have banned human cloning and its research. This legislation is a threat to the development of research of our human body.

 To ban the research “will just push it underground and into unscrupulous hands” states Raju Chellam in the article “Clone research – dangerous to wish it away”, which appeared in The Business Times, October 1, 1999. Mankind is still in search of many answers and some of which may be found in the research of human cloning.

 Thus human cloning and its technology is necessary and should be continued because the cures to diseases may be found, the infertility problem may be solved, and more geniuses may be produced.

II. Curing diseases

 High hopes in developing “new cures and treatments for serious and unmet medical needs” have been driven by the cloning technology (Milgram & Rantala, 1999, p. 215).

 Some diseases are inborn and cause permanent defects on an individual. This suffering may end soon if cloning is permitted. Doctors expect to eventually “offer expectant mothers an option to diagnose and treat the future early enough to correct disorders such as Down's Syndrome, miscarriages, and genetically induced sensory diseases like blindness or deafness” (Chellam, 1999, 1 October).

 Parents worried about their child being born deformed can be rest assured that “cloning is actually genetically safer than normal sexual reproduction because it bypasses the most common form of birth defect – having the wrong number of chromosomes” (Kolata, 1998, pp. 237 - 238). Through cloning, it is possible to control the number of chromosomes to avoid abnormalities as it starts off with a normal cell that has “the proper amount of chromosomes” (Kolata, 1998, p. 239).

 “Human cloning would solve the problem of finding a transplant donor whose organ or tissue is an acceptable match and would eliminate or drastically reduce, the risk of transplant rejection from the host” (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 1998, p. 147). The host must first have his own clone, which would mean that clones would be genetically identical to the host. For transplanting organs from one another, the match would be near perfect.

 Growing embryonic stem cells is another form of offering near perfect matched transplants as they can be “grown to produce organs or tissues to repair damaged ones” (The benefits of human cloning, 1998). A source of these cells is cloned embryos. “By combining this technology with human cloning technology it may be possible to produce needed tissue for suffering people that will be free of rejection by their immune systems” (The benefits of human cloning, 1998).

III. Relieving infertility

 In vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, embryo manipulation, surrogate motherhood, and more were once strongly opposed to but we have grown accustomed to them and have accepted them as forms of reproduction. “Cloning is but one of many high-tech methods of reproduction” (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 1998, p. 271).

 Those who are “attracted to the idea of selective breeding” will prefer cloning because it “involves a smaller genetic gamble than does a combination of sperm and egg of even highly desirable strangers” (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 1998, p. 252). This possible new way of reproduction is highly desirable since, as Lee Silver said, offers “a chance for some people to have what they thought they never could have – a child of their own” (Milgram & Rantala, 1999, p. 69).

 Banning human cloning is an equivalent to disallowing life. Depriving those who sincerely wish to experience pregnancy and raise “a child biologically related to them” may result in a “large number of children throughout the world possibly available for adoption” (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 1998, p. 146). Cloning technology, once perfected, will allow the conceiving of a genetically related child using any cell from the body.

Cloning gives an “infertile or homosexual couple a chance to have a biological child” (Milgram & Rantala , 1999, p. 59). A doctor, Capron, said, “with more research on techniques, he would help women whose eggs could be fertilized but who always miscarried their fetuses” (Kolata, 1998, p. 244). Therefore, we should continue the research on human cloning and not ban it so quickly.
 

IV. Producing geniuses

 Clones will have their own soul and identity like any other human being. They will be “a distinct individual; not a replica of another person” (Barnett, 1998, p. 117). “Each clone would be like an identical twin”, claims James Q. Wilson, “very similar in intelligence and manner, and alike (but not a duplicate) in personality” (Kass & Wilson, 1998, p. 66).

 “Genetic essentialism reduces the self to a molecular entity, equating human beings, in all their social, historical and moral complexity, with their genes” (Nelkin & Lindee, 1995, p. 2). Cloning geniuses will create life with an ability to have similar potential as that of the genius. Although we cannot replicate the same environment as that genius, the traits of exceptional talents and intelligence are there.

 Cloning “extraordinary individuals” like Gandhi, Beethoven and Einstein, “would produce individuals with the same genetic inheritances” (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 1998, p. 149). This, however, does not mean the clone will be able to repeat history and accomplish what these individuals once did. “Human behavior is a function of genetic endowment interacting with social and environmental forces” (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 1998, p. 271).

 The importance of the environment with respect to any individual is a major factor affecting one’s behavior and character. Genes are another essential factor, which greatly affect an individual. “Social identity and social ties of relationship and responsibility are widely connected to, and supported by, biological kinship” (Kass & Wilson, 1998, p. 36).

 There are many people who still think that cloning Hitler will also mean repeating what he did. Scientists reassure the public that this is not possible, as for such historical events to be repeated, all the circumstances that allowed Hitler to be what he was would have been repeated as well. If Hitler was cloned and brought up in a well-to-do, happy family which he enjoyed being in, this clone will not follow the footsteps Hitler as his background is no longer the same. However, he might become one who can speak incredibly well and eventually become a well-respected leader.

V. The future of the human race

 Dolly’s life span holds the key to a new path for the human race. Scientists are observing her closely in her protected enclosure within the walls of the Roslin Institute. If she lives to the age of a normal sheep, it will mean her DNA from an adult sheep had no effect on her age, and thus it is possible to reverse the age of one’s DNA to zero. However, if her life span is shorter than other normal sheep, we can only prove her life began from the age of her cloned cell.
 Dolly’s success was among many failures as “the British transferred 277 adult nuclei into enucleated sheep eggs and implanted twenty-nine clonal embryos, but they achieved the birth of only one live lamb clone” (Kass & Wilson, 1998, p. 14).

 Still, human cloning and its technology have their benefits and research work should be continued. Abortion is legal although it is to kill a fetus. “If there is a right to abort fetal life, there must be a parallel right to create life” (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 1998, p. 211).

 Terminally ill patients in hospitals are waiting for a solution to end their suffering. For example, leukemia patients need a healthy bone marrow that matches their bodies, or they will die. AIDS and other diseases are still incurable. Many doctors and scientists see cloning as a very conceivable way of solving these problems and freeing these suffering people soon.

 To ban cloning research will cause a technology which may someday cure diseases, prevent the deaths of people who wait unceasingly for an organ for transplant, give hope to people who otherwise cannot have their own child, and allow more people with extraordinary traits to be born into this world. Thus, the continuation of human cloning and its technology are major benefits to the human race. Human cloning is a possibility in playing a big role in our future.
(1517 Words)

VI. References

Barnett, S. A. (1998). The science of life. Australia: Allen & Unwin.
Chellam, R. (1999, October 1). Clone research – dangerous to wish it away. The Business Times.

Human Cloning Foundation. (1998). The benefits of human cloning. [Online]. Available from: http://www.humancloning.org/benefits.htm

Kass, L. R., & Wilson, J. Q.  (Ed.). (1998). The ethics of human cloning. Washington D.C.: AEI Press.

Kolata, G. (1998). Clone: The road to Dolly, and the path ahead. New York: William Morrow and Company.

Nelkin, D., & Lindee, M. S. (1995). The DNA mystique: The gene as a cultural icon. New York: W. H. Freeman.

Nussbaum, M. C., & Sunstein, C. R. (Ed.). (1998). Clones and clones: Facts and fantasies about human cloning. New York: W. W. Norton.

Rantala, M. L., & Milgram, A. J. (Ed.). (1999). Cloning: For and against. US: Carus
 

VII. Bibliography

Bell, G. (1982). The masterpiece of nature. London: Croom Helm.

Kassirer, J. P., & Rosenthal, N. A. (1998, March 26). Should human cloning research be off limits? [Online]. Available from: http://www.nejm.org/content/1998/0338/0013/0905.asp

Levine, J., & Suzuki, D. (1993). The secret of life. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation.

McKinnell, R. (1979). Cloning: A biologist reports. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

McKinnell, R. (1985). Cloning: Of frogs, mice, and other animals. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Nossal, G. J. V., & Coppel, R. L. (1989). Reshaping life. Oakleigh, Australia: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.

Pollack, R. (1994). Signs of life: The language and meanings of DNA. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Ramsey, P. (1970). Fabricated man: The ethics of genetic control. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Roleff, T. L. (1998). Biomedical ethics: Opposing viewpoints. San Diego, US: Greenhaven Press.

Silver, L. M. (1998). Remaking Eden: Cloning and beyond in a brave new world. New York: Avon Books.

Seah Nili
lkco@pacific.net.sg