For this assignment, you must write a 4-6 page position paper to illustrate your views on biotechnology and/or cloning. Be sure to provide me with a reference page (this will not count towards your 4-6 page requirement). This paper must be submitted by November 30th to the dropbox contained within this folder. Remember to only a Microsoft Word document. Let me give you some examples of what could be done:It could be illustrated how these technologies may help in the decline of species or help to solve food production problems.You can take a positive perspective or a negative perspective on this technology (be sure to illustrate why).One could illustrate why certain technologies should be investigated and possibly adopted, while others would be off limits.It could be illustrated why these technologies offer hope for human survival.You could illustrate how these technologies can be used to bring back former species that have been lost (negative and positive consequences)Or you could illustrate how this technology could be used to limit human diseases and suffering.The above list is only a few suggestions, but many more possibilities exist.
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To Clone or not to Clone: The Ethical Question
A couple that had been married for only two years was in a terrible car accident. The
wife walked away with a few cuts and bruises. The husband, however was unconscious
when the paramedics arrived. He went into a coma shortly after arriving at the nearby
hospital. He came out of the coma but was never to be the same again. It turns out that
when he was in the accident he had severe head trauma, and would be a vegetable the rest
of his life. He could not take part in the reproduction of children. The wife is now
distraught because they will never have children together. She heard about the possibility
of cloning and believes that it is the only way that she will ever have children. Is it so?
The ethics of human cloning has become a great issue in the past few years. The
advocates for both sides of the issue have many reasons to clone or not to clone. This is
an attempt to explore the pros and cons of human cloning and to provide enough
information of both sides of the arguments in order for the reader to make their own
informed decision on whether human cloning is ethical or not. Cloning will first be
defined. Then a brief explanation of why questions concerning cloning humans have
arisen will be presented. Some things cannot be known for sure unless it is tested, i.e.,
human cloning is allowed. Followed by that, a discussion of the facts and opinions that
support cloning will be presented and then the same against cloning. Please remember
that not all of this has proven true nor is able to be proven yet, but has simply been
argued as a scientific hypothesis. Finally, my own personal opinion will be stated.
Defining Human Cloning
When speaking of human cloning, what is meant? Different groups and organizations
define it differently. To use a specific definition, the American Medical Association
(AMA) defined cloning as the production of genetically identical organisms via somatic
cell nuclear transfer. Somatic cell nuclear transfer? refers to the process which the
nucleus of a somatic cell of an existing organism is transferred into an oocyte from which
the nucleus has been removed (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs 1). In other
words, cloning is the method of produce a baby that has the same genes as its parent.
You take an egg and remove its nucleus, which contains the DNA/genes. Then you take
the DNA from an adult cell and insert it into the egg, either by fusing the adult cell with
the enucleated egg, or by a sophisticated nuclear transfer. You then stimulate the
reconstructed egg electrically or chemically and try to make it start to divide and become
an embryo. You then use the same process to implant the egg into a surrogate mother
that you would use with artificial insemination. (Eibert)
However, many groups have used a broader definition of cloning. They include the
production of tissues and organs through growing cells or tissues in cultures along with
the actual producing of embryos to be born. This is done with the use of stem cells.
When an egg is fertilized and begins to divide, the cells are all alike. As the cells divide,
certain cells differentiate and become the stem cells that produce certain tissue and then
organs. Research in this very active. There is still much for scientists to learn about cell
differentiation and how it works. To a clone an organ, a stem cell must be produced and
then used to a clone that specific organ. For the sake of this paper, both definitions will
be used in order to cover all opinions.
One must understand that cloning does not produce an exact copy of the person being
cloned. What cloning does, is that it copies the DNA/genes of the person and creates a
duplicate genetically. The person will not be a Xerox copy. He or she will grow up in a
different environment than the clone, with different experiences and different
opportunities. Genetics does not wholly define a person and the personality.
How It All Started
In February 1997, when embryologist Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at Roslin Institute in
Scotland were able to clone a lamb, named Dolly, the world was introduced to a new
possibility and will never be the same again (Nash). Before this, cloning was thought to
be impossible, but now there is living proof that the technology and knowledge to clone
animals exist. Questions began to arise within governments and scientific organizations
and they began to respond. Are humans next? Is it possible to use this procedure to
clone humans also? Would anyone actually try? What can we learn if we clone
humans? How will this affect the world? These are only a few of the questions that have
surfaced and need answered. A whole new concept in ethics was created when the birth
of Dolly was announced.
There are a great number of possible medical benefits and disadvantages to cloning and
its technology. They include the following:
Potential Medical Benefits
The possibility that through cloning technology we will learn to renew activity
of damaged cells by growing new cells and replacing them.
The capability to create humans with identical genetic makeup to act as organ
donors for each other, i.e., kidney and bone marrow transplants.
The benefit of studying cell differentiation at the same time that cloning is
studied and developed.
Sterile couples will be able to have offspring will have either the mother?s or
father?s genetic pattern.
Potential Harms and Disadvantages
The possibility of compromising individualities.
Loss of genetic variation.
A black market of fetuses may arise from desirable donors that will want to
be able to clone themselves, i.e., movie stars, athletes, and others.
Technology is not well developed. It has a low fertility rate. In cloning Dolly,
277 eggs were used, 30 started to divide, nine induced pregnancy, and only one
survived to term (Nash).
Clones may be treated as second-class citizens.
Unknown psychosocial harms with impacts on the family and society.
The Governments Make a Move
The governments went to work shortly after the cloning of Dolly. They wanted to take
control and make laws before anything drastic could ever happen. Several ethics
committees were asked to decide whether scientists should be allowed to try to clone
humans. Many of the committees found the data displayed above. In the United States,
the National Bioethics Advisory Commission recommended a five-year moratorium on
cloning a child through somatic cell nuclear transfer (Council on Ethical and Judicial
Affairs 1). In the state of Michigan, Governor Engler signed a law last year making
human cloning illegal with harsh penalties if it is attempted (Governor Engler…). In
the United Kingdom, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the
Human Genetics Advisory Commission (HGEC) have approved human cloning for
therapeutic purposes, but not to clone children (HFEA supports Human Cloning in
U.K.). Many organizations have come out and stated their opinions also. Amongst all
this ethical defining, many people are being ignored by the governments. People are
speaking out about what they want done.
Let Us Clone
After a couple has had their first child, to their disappointment they become infertile and
cannot have more children. Cloning would enable such a couple to have a second child,
perhaps a younger twin to the child they already have. This example has a very good
argument. Many couples have difficulties having children, and sometimes it is
impossible for couples to have children because they are infertile. Cloning would allow
these couples to have children. Also, occasionally a woman is born without a uterus or
has other complications and cannot produce eggs, then with the help of a surrogate
mother, she can have a child of her own using her own DNA or her husband?s.
This and the example at the beginning are both arguments that some have made in
promoting cloning. It is hard to tell someone that they cannot use cloning to have
children when no other possible ways to produce offspring are available. This is one
reason why it is difficult to decide if cloning is ethical or not. The following are some of
the reasons why cloning should be allowed.
As just discussed, cloning can be used to help benefit those that are sterile and cannot
have children through the normal, natural way. It is the desire of most couples to have
children and when it is impossible to bare children of your own, some are willing to do
anything to have a child. Cloning will allow them to have a child or many children that
have the genetic pattern of one of the parents.
Through cloning, research can progress. It is hard to say what we can learn from cloning
if cloning is not allowed. We possibly can learn more about cell differentiation. We can
learn enough to produce human organs without having to produce human beings. We
may develop technology to allow easier genetic testing and fixing problems such as
spinal cord injuries, cancer, Tay-Sachs disease, and many more.
Cloning organs for organ transplants is one of the major practical reasons that cloning
should be allowed. There is always a high demand for organs. Some argue for the
cloning of humans to create spare body parts. Others talk of just wanting to clone an
organ to replace a defective organ.
Rejuvenation is also a key argument for advocates of cloning. Human cloning may one
day reverse heart attacks. Some scientists believe that by injecting cloned healthy heart
cells into damaged heart tissue will lead to healing of the heart (Human Cloning
Foundation). By combining the technology for cloning and the technology for growing
human stem cells, conditions like Alzheimer=s disease, Parkinson=s disease, and
degenerative joint disease may be curable. The possibilities are endless and may be left
undiscovered if human cloning is banned.
Thou Shalt Not Clone
One of the main goals of the government is to protect human life. Some people want the
government to regulate cloning and not allow it. Michigan=s government believes this
and became the first government to place a ban on cloning. As mentioned before, the
governor signed laws that prohibit engaging or attempting to engage in human cloning.
A Michigan state senator, Mr. Bennett said, This legislation boils down to one thing:
Prohibiting the creation of human life for scientific research. Human cloning is wrong; it
will be five years from now; and wrong 100 years from now! (Governor Engler…)
Producing clones for research or to use their parts is unethical. It would be against the
code of ethics of a doctor to harm a clone (i.e., use it for an organ transplant). The clone
would be a human being and deserve all the rights and privileges that a non-cloned
human has. A clone should not be a second-class citizen. It is speculated that they would
be considered as such.
The American Medical Association holds four points of reason why cloning should not
take place. They are: 1) there are unknown physical harms introduced by cloning, 2)
unknown psychosocial harms introduced by cloning, including violations of autonomy
and privacy, 3) impacts on familial and societal relations, and 4) potential effects on the
human gene pool (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs 4-6). We just simply do not
know the harms that will come from cloning.
Cloning would lead to the loss of individuality because one=s genetic predispositions and
conditions would be known. If raised by a clone-parent or as a sibling to the cloned, one
may have great expectations to live up to. However, the human clones could differ
greatly in personality and even grow up with different conditions than the cloned. Even
monozygotic twins differ. This could be a great stress to the clone and possibly even the
loss of ability to chose for itself (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs 5).
The long term genetic effects of cloning may cause more problems than can be imagined.
The question of what can go wrong in cloning needs to be discussed. In an evolutionary
standpoint, cloning is not good. Evolution relies on a continual mixing and matching of
genes to keep the gene pool alive (McCormack). With cloning, the natural process of
selection of genes would be bypassed and evolution would be impaired. The Council of
Ethical and Judicial Affairs for the AMA stated the following concerning possible
problems with mutations and clones:
Since the somatic cell from which clones originate likely
will have acquired mutations, serial cloning would
compound the accumulation that occurs in somatic cells.
Although these mutations might not be apparent at the time
of cloning, genetics problems could become exacerbated in
future generations. (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs
We can see that cloning can possibly change the gene pool from how we now know it.
Most likely, it would not be a good change.
Technology as we presently know it will not effectively support the cloning of humans.
As mentioned before, the success rate was quite low when cloning Dolly. Only one of
the 277 tries succeeded, see chart 1. The same problems of the difficulty of having the
fertilized egg implant parallels with that in in vitro fertilization. Technology has not yet
been able to provide an answer to this problem.
The fear that clones will be treated as second-class citizens is also present. If a clone is
created to act as bone marrow or kidney donor, the question arises if they would be
treated like the first child? Would the parents even love this child the same? If not, this
would lead to negative self-esteem and/or other physiological problems.
There is also the fear that some would want to clone people to create large armies of the
same soldier or even produce large amounts of workers. This would also lead to the
creation of a second and lower class for clones.
From a Latter-day Saint point of view, the Proclamation on the Family clearly does not
agree with cloning. The Proclamation states: We . . . declare that God has commanded
that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman,
lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We declare the means by which mortal life is
created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in
God?s plan. (Italics added) In other words, the power to create humans is only to be
used in a marriage between husband and wife. Cloning only involves one parent,
therefore it is not following God?s plan in which a man?s sperm and a woman?s egg are
needed to create life.
My Personal Recommendation
As a student studying biology, I have tried to approach both sides and approach them
with an unbiased opinion. I personally think that the world of genetics is fascinating, but
after learning of what is now possible through technology, I changed my mind about
pursuing a career in the field. I see cloning as a wonderful advancement in technology
and knowledge. I do not think it should be used to reproduce humans though. I do not
believe that we should try to develop other ways beside the natural way to bring life into
this world. I strongly believe that God created us and that we are subjected to His laws
and must obey. The laws of God that have the worst punishment deal with bringing life
into the world and taking life out of the world. I believe that cloning people would fall
under these laws also.
Cloning tissues and organs falls under a different category that cloning human beings. I
think it would be advantageous to science and medicine to clone tissues and organs.
However, the research in this involves fetal tissue which is a completely different ethical
discussion. I do not know enough about the procedure be against it. So, with my present
understanding I would allow cloning for tissues and organs.
Cloning can revolutionize the world and the way we live or it may be so minimal that it
would not affect us at all if it is allowed. [Two sentences taken out during update.] Is
this the world you want to live in? Each person individually must decide for himself or
herself if they believe that cloning should be allowed or if the governments should
intervene with it.
????Apr 2000, updated
5 Dec 2001, Joseph Farnsworth, This paper cannot be reproduced without
consent of its author.
– Back to TopWorks Cited
Alton, David. Send on the Clones. no date. (No longer o
Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association. Report 98:
Ethics of Human Cloning. Jun 1998. Unpublished Report. Online Posting.
Eibert, Mark D. Human Cloning: Myths, Medical Benefits and Constitutional Rights.
1999. < http://www.humancloning.org/users/infertil/humancloning.htm>
Governor Engler Signs Legislation to Ban Human Cloning. 1999.
HFEA supports Human Cloning in U.K.. no date.
Human Cloning Foundation. The Benefits of human cloning. 1998.
McCormack, Chris. To Err is Human, but to Clone One Divine?. 21 Jan 2000.
Nash, J. Madeliene. The Age of Cloning. Online Posting. Time. 10 Mar 1997. vol.
149 no. 10.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Salt Lake City, UT: The First Presidency
and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Additional Works Referenced
Human Cloning Foundation. All the Reasons to Clone Human Beings. 1998.
Human Cloning Foundation. The First Cloned Human Embryo. 1998.
Kluger, Jeffery. Will We Follow the Sheep? Online Posting. Time; 10 Mar 1997. vol.
Steinberg, Avraham. Human Cloning – Scientific, Moral and Jewish Perspectives. No
The following lesson deals with the issues resulting from our use of biotechnology. While
biotechnologies have been used since the brewing of beer by the Sumerians in 1750 BCE,
science and technology have created many new possibilities and ethical concerns related to the
wide scale use of biotechnologies that involve cloning and gene manipulation. Please read the
following introductory material, and then read all of the active links to seven short articles
provided at the end of this lesson. Then prepare one dialogue aid sheet for Mondays class.
What is a cell?
Cells are the basic building blocks of all living things. The human body is composed of trillions of
cells. They provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients
into energy, and carry out specialized functions. Cells also contain the bodys hereditary
material and can make copies of themselves.
Cells have many parts, each with a different function. Some of these parts, called organelles,
are specialized structures that perform certain tasks within the cell.
What is DNA?
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other
organisms. Nearly every cell in a persons body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the
cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in
the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).
The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A),
guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases, and
more than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people. The order, or sequence, of
these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism,
similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to …
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