The US President George Bush has asked the US Congress to ban the creation of cloned babies as well as the cloning of human embryos for medical research. The US House representative passed the ban, but a similar bill in the Senate was stayed after scientists urged that such law would hinder medical research.
The word ‘Clone’ derives from the Greek term ‘Klon’ meaning a sprout or a twig. It refers to a method of reproduction apart from the parental, sexual mating process that is characteristic of most organisms.
Cloning a human being would involve various processes: The cell nucleus of an adult person would be remixed from an ordinary ‘ body cell.
Since the nucleus of each cell (red blood cells excepted) contains all the genetic information of the DNA for a complete human being, a nucleus extracted from a donor would be transplanted into an unfertilized host egg cell (the nucleus of which had been removed).
Supposedly, then the embryo transplanted into same woman’s rent uterus would develop, ultimately producing an exact copy of the person whose original DNA provided the starter. In theory, one could by this method, xerox, himself hundred of times.
Real cloning, however, has been around for sometime, approximately 40 years. Frogs were first cloned from sexual tadpole cells in 1952. In 1997 there was much notoriety surrounding the cloning of a sheep (Dolly) in Scotland.
Scientists may be able to manipulate certain biological laws to evil ends. It is wrong to conceive a child outside the bonds of marriage, but it happens all the time. It is immoral to murder a fellow human being but the technology for so doing is available in abundance.
Moral Implications of Cloning:
The announcement by a US company that it has cloned a human embryo for the first time has set off a heated debate on the ethics of the research. A large section of the world community, particularly religious groups are making hue and cry since the very beginning of the concept.
On the other hand a group of intellectuals, especially the medical scientists vehemently supported the arrival of eve and called for the continuity of further research.
The proponents of the cloning assert that only human cloning can give solutions of many health problems.
Realising the truth of this fact the Senate in USA approached the community of the clone research, although the House of Representative rejected it. Britain became the first nation which had allowed cloning of 14 day old human embryo, strictly for the medical experiments only, on Jan 23, 2001.
The medical scientists’ argument that it was aimed not at creating a human being but only embryo for stem cells to treat diseases ranging from Pankinson’s to diabetes. Scientists believe the research will lead to new treatment for many degenerative disease like skin-burn, leukaemia etc.
The new cells implanted into patient would be identical to his or her own, so would not be rejected by like body. If one’s kidneys can fail, he can take the spares from his clone.
Today many couples prefer to have just one child. When, due to an accident or illness his child is lost, the parents crave for another child, but by now they are probably at the menopausal stage.
Such couples have shown an interest in human reproductive cloning as a possible way of recreating their lost child. For others who are medically unfit cloning offers a ray of hope.
While there is no apparent ethical offence in cloning a carrot, or even a frog such is not the case with human. Humans are not mere animals that have evolved from biological stem. They are creatures specially fashioned by God.
The religious heads condemn the cloning of human beings. It certainly is not because the scientists are anxious to generate a larger population for our planet. Rather they are anxious to create a brand of humans with whom they can experiment.
This is the same mentality that seized Adolf Hitler during that dreadfully dark era of World War II. In reality this would be nothing short of slavery.
In the mean as by product of the process, thousand of tiny human beings would be destroyed in this misguided quest which allegedly intended to improve the quality of human life.
There has been wide spread consternation about human cloning. Many argue that animal cloning techniques have not yet been perfected so this technology should not be extended to humans. For instance, it was widely reported that Dolly, the first cloned sheep, was suffering from premature arthritis.
Moreover reproductive cloning in the hands of renegade scientists can open up a trade in human beings much like in human organs.
How can one protect oneself from being replicated against one’s will? There are such many grey areas which compel us to think over negative aspects of cloning.
This cloned human being might have various healthy and genetic related problems. They could have faster growth rate, as happened in the Dolly case. Besides a cloned child can be the greatest threat to the parenthood.
It can disturb the existing family set up. The misuse of human cloning can promote eugenics which is completely against the human rights and other discoveries, as tools for exploration rather than for development human cloning which is perfect example of such misuse, is neither morally acceptable nor medically justifiable.
Nature works to a pattern. It has its own checks and balances. It creates spontaneously a non-viable fetus. But when fetus is created artificially, the risk of the so-created embryo being abnormal is greater.
As nuclear technology is not junked but is allowed to be researched into with strict regulation cloning should be subject to regulation too.