The ethics of human cloning

Cloning before the 1990s was a science not well known among the public because major successes in this field involved non-mammalian animals; although these successes were far from the public interest of human cloning, they are still crucial to the development of mammalian cloning (Royal , 2009). The first successful cloning was that of a sea urchin by Hans Adolf Edward Dreisch in 1885. The method of cloning used by Dreisch is embryo twinning, a cloning which occurs naturally when a mammal gives birth to twins.

He separated the two-celled sea urchin embryo by shaking it until it split into two separate cells which then each grew into an independent organism (Royal, 2009). The scientist Hans Spemann, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Biology in Berlin, also used embryo twinning to clone a salamander in 1902. This time the organism was more complex (it had a backbone) and the cells of the embryo were much harder to split; the cells could not be separated by shaking them. Spemann was able to split the cells by creating a noose out of a strand of baby hair.

The cloning was successful in this early stage of the embryo but when tried in a more advanced embryo the cloning was not successful (The University of Utah)The most famous cloning event in history may be the cloning of the first mammal, Dolly the sheep; this cloning was much more complicated than that done by Hans Spemann and it helped launch the modern cloning age (Royal ,2009) The greatest problem with creative media-driven discussions like this is that they often reflect a misunderstanding of the science and people involved. The film “Multiplicity” presents human replicas, not clones in the form that we are discussing them here.

Although the embryo’s cells contain the same genetic code as the cells of the adult being cloned, the embryo must go through many years of development in an environment that is significantly different from that in which the adult developed. Because both our environment and our genetics substantially influence who we are, the embryo will not become the same person as the adult. In fact, because we also have a spiritual capacity to evaluate and alter either or both our environment and our genetics, human clones are bound to be quite different from the adults who provide their genetic code. Kilner ,2002) The original resolution, offered by Costa Rica and supported by sixty-two other nations, would have banned all forms of human cloning.

A distinction is being drawn between “reproductive cloning” (cloning to produce children) and “therapeutic cloning” (cloning to obtain embryonic stem cells for scientific research). However, there are no valid moral grounds for making this distinction. Biologically speaking, human life normally begins during fertilization when the male and female complement of genetic material is combined (syngamy), and ends at some future stage of development along a continuum to old age.

In cloning, the process begins when the donor cell nucleus is placed in an enucleated egg and the embryo begins to develop. The bottom line is that all cloning results in reproduction. The issue is how we view human life at this stage of development. For Christians, this should not be difficult. All human life should be respected from its earliest stages because, unlike animals or other forms of life, human beings are made in the image of God. Because we are made in the image of God, we have an inherent dignity that must be respected. Hensley , 2005) As stated by Hensely (2005) “ Most research scientists are generally removed from the medical setting and its emphasis on clinical ethics and human subject research”. (para 3)

For decades, scientists have been probing animal embryos in their quest to obtain fundamental knowledge about normal development, nuclear programming, patterns of inheritance, and tissue/organ growth and maintenance. Within the context of such experimentation, animal embryos are not even considered to be “animals” and are not governed by Animal Care and Use Guidelines.

Only the “adult” animals that donate the oocytes or sperm to produce, or provide wombs for, the embryos to be experimented upon fall under the guidelines for animal welfare supervision. This mentality toward embryonic subjects also commonly characterizes the attitudes of scientists toward human embryos–leading to the validation of human embryo research. (Hensley ,2005) Although we are correct in the analysis that adult stem cells do presently appear to be more clinically beneficial than their embryonic counterparts, the field of regenerative medicine and stem cell transplantation is still in its infancy.

There is therefore no guarantee that adult stem cell research will continue to hold the advantage over embryonic stem cell research. Rather than tie their position to such a tenuous foundation, those in the bioethics community must articulate a precedent for demanding a morally higher ground that scientists are obliged to uphold. The good news is that there is already such a precedent in both research and medicine: scientists and medical researchers don’t necessarily pursue knowledge via the easiest venue possible if someone can show them that doing so would be unethical.

For example, some animal research that may have been considered ethical just ten years ago is now restricted as the result of increased concern for animal welfare. (Hensely ,2005) ACT’s heralded breakthrough shows that scientists can not only create a human embryo through cloning (a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer), but also that they can stimulate a human egg without fertilization or the introduction of foreign DNA by a sperm to make an “embryo-like entity” through a process known as parthenogenesis.

Parthenogenesis is achieved by either taking a very early egg (which has 46 chromosomes instead of the usual 23) and subsequently stimulating it so that an embryo develops, or by taking an egg at a later stage in development (which has the typical 23 chromosomes) and inducing it to double its genetic material and then stimulating it to develop as an embryo. (Jones, 2001) The promise of embryos created through cloning and parthenogenesis is that they will provide genetically matching cells which allegedly will produce regenerative tissues needed to treat or cure patients suffering from nearly every degenerative disease.

Such so-called “therapeutic cloning,” as opposed to reproductive cloning, results in the creation of embryos who have been fashioned specifically for destructive harvesting of their stem cells. Because these stem cells should be genetically compatible with the person from whom the clone was created or whose donated egg was used to stimulate the embryo made by parthenogenesis, panaceas for patients suffering from diabetes, neurological diseases, and a host of other maladies may be obtained via creating – and then killing – their embryonic clones. Jones, 2001)

As stated by (Jones 2001) It is no accident that we call what we do when we have babies “procreation. ” “Pro” means “for” or “forth. ” To be sure, we do bring babies “forth. ” But the deeper meaning here is “for. ” We bring new human beings into the world “for” someone or something. To be specific, we continue the line of human beings for God-in accordance with God’s mandate to humanity at the beginning to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). We also create for the people whom we help bring into being.

We help give them life. They are the ones most affected by our actions-far more than the rest of society and even far more than we ourselves. What is particularly significant about this “procreation”-this “creation for”-is that it is a creation that is by its very nature subject to an outside agenda-to God’s agenda primarily, and secondarily also with due respect to the needs of the child being created. In this sense, only God is Creator-the only one who creates something out of nothing (“ex nihilo”) and is subject to no outside genda.

A lot of people sit and try to think what could we do or even what human cloning would be good to use it for human cloning technology could be used to reverse heart attacks. Scientists believe that they may be able to treat heart attack victims by cloning their healthy heart cells and injecting them into the areas of the heart that have been damaged. Clonning can help with a lot of things that can benifents health issuses. Even with making new oneThere has been a breakthrough with human stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells can be grown to produce organs or tissues to repair or replace damaged ones. Skin for burn victims, brain cells for the brain damaged, spinal cord cells for quadriplegics and paraplegics, hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys could be produced. 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. Human cloning could make it possible for many more infertile couples to have children than ever before possible. Plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery.

Because of human cloning and its technology the days of silicone breast implants and other cosmetic procedures that may cause immune disease should soon be over. With the new technology, instead of using materials foreign to the body for such procedures, doctors will be able to manufacture bone, fat, connective tissue, or cartilage that matches the patients tissues exactly. The science of cloning and stem cells has been somewhat of an what with fraudulent claims by a South Korean biologist of generating custom-made stem cells lines and, sigh, of producing a baby through cloning.

The little cloned boy should be 5 now; we wish him well in kindergarten. ) The latest advance therefore shouldn’t inspire headlines about cloned babies being right around the corner, but here goes: scientists have transferred DNA from an adult human cell into a human egg, and made the egg to “reprogram” the donor DNA back to its embryonic state, producing a pattern of gene activation like that in normal IVF embryos–and therefore, it seems, the pattern necessary to create an embryo.

What this means, in a nutshell, is that if the study holds up, it will look increasingly likely that there are no known technical obstacles to reproductive cloning, the creation of human clones not for stem cells in which case the clone never gets further than a days-old ball of cells) but for babies. In the days since, however, a slew of conservative Christian groups have charged Obama with misleading the public on human cloning. They accuse him of saying he’s taking a zero-tolerance approach when he’s not.

That’s because the president may allow federal funding for somatic cell nuclear transfer, a cloning process in which scientists produce embryos to provide stem cells for research, not for implantation. Some religious groups argue that regardless of whether the embryos are created for research or for reproduction, it is cloning. But the cloned embryos have never been implanted in a woman’s uterus, and researchers say that they are unlikely to develop into viable fetuses even if they were. Scientists generally don’t consider the process to be human cloning.

After all, nothing resembling a human being is ever produced. But religious conservatives are charging that Obama is supporting human cloning if he allows somatic cell nuclear transfer to go forward with government money. Obama will make the decision after receiving recommendations on embryonic stem cell research guidelines from the National Institutes of Health this summer. “[Obama] may be for cloning, as long as the cloned embryo is destroyed,” the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Press reported recently. Opponents call it ‘cloning and killing. ‘ ” Scientists, meanwhile, say religious conservatives are confusing the public about human cloning.

“No legitimate scientist wants to make human clones,” says Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics. “The only people that care about this are critics of embryonic stem cell research, who use it as a battering ram against the research. It is purely political. To influence the guideline-drafting process at NIH and in the White House, social conservatives are raising a firestorm over somatic cell nuclear transfer, which means the debate over what constitutes human cloning is likely to intensify. In conservative religious circles, equating cloned embryos that have little or no chance of survival with human cloning has become commonplace.

Princeton University Prof. Robert P. George argues that Obama incorrectly narrowed the definition of human cloning by prohibiting only cloning that is intended for human reproduction. ‘Reproductive cloning’ is a misleading term,” George, a leading social conservative and a member of Bush’s Council on Bioethics, wrote in an E-mail that I posted on my God & Country blog earlier this week. “It refers not to cloning itself but rather to what one does or intends to do with the clone, i. e. , the embryonic human being created by cloning. “

The conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights rescinded its initial praise of Obama’s stated opposition to human cloning because of his refusal to rule out federally supported somatic cell nuclear transfer. Media reports which said that President Obama banned human cloning were wrong,” the Catholic League said several days after commending Obama for rejecting human cloning. During his administration, President Bush went so far as to oppose human cloning bans being considered by Congress because they outlawed reproductive cloning while permitting somatic cell nuclear transfer. During that process, scientists remove the nucleus of an egg cell and replace it with cells from an organism whose DNA they want to clone, creating a fused, embryolike cell.

It’s the process Scottish scientists used to create the cloned sheep Dolly in 1997. The hope for humans is that somatic cell nuclear transfer would allow scientists to generate stem cells from sick people whom they are trying to treat, rather than relying on stem cells from excess embryos from in vitro fertilization clinics. This is preferred because the body often rejects stem cells from such foreign sources. So far, the work is theoretical. Scientists have yet to harvest embryonic stem cells via somatic cell nuclear transfer (Gilgoff ,2009). The work offers spectacular rewards for doctors.

From a scrap of skin taken from a patient, they can make neurones genetically identical to those in that person’s brain. These brain cells, grown in the laboratory, can then be studied to reveal the neurological secrets of their condition. “However, we have found a way round that. We can take a skin sample, make stem cells from it and then direct these stem cells to grow into brain cells. Essentially, we are turning a person’s skin cells into brain. We are making cells that were previously inaccessible.

And we could do that in future for the liver, the heart and other organs on which it is very difficult to carry out biopsies. They are making different types of brain cells out of skin samples from people with schizophrenia and bipolar depression,” he said. “Once we have assembled these, we look at standard psychological medicines, such as lithium, to see how they affect these cells in the laboratory. After that, we can start to screen new medicines. Our lines of brain cells would become testing platforms for new drugs. We should be able to start that work in a couple of years. ” In the past, scientists have studied brain tissue from people with conditions such as schizophrenia, but could only do so once an autopsy had

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