Cloning is a research activity that creates a copy of some biological entity (a gene or organism or cell). Cloning utilizes the technique of nuclear transplantation. In this process the DNA containing nucleus of an egg is removed. This egg is filled with a full set of genes or chromosomes from the cells of an adult. The egg is then stimulated to divide and following a number of divisions it can be transferred into the uterus of a suitable female host until its birth. The adult cell may be any cell of the adult body except the reproductive cell. The reason for this is that the reproductive cell contains half the set of chromosomes. This so called fertilized egg is implanted into the womb of a woman where it ultimately develops into a human embryo. This is later on delivered as an identical replica or clone of the adult.
There are three type of cloning - Recombinant DNA Cloning, Reproductive Cloning and Therapeutic Cloning.
Recombinant DNA Cloning - This type of Gene Cloning refers to the process by which a fragment of DNA is transferred from one organism to a self-replicating genetic element such as a bacterial plasmid or a virus.
Reproductive Cloning - It is the process by which an animal is created which had the same nuclear DNA as a previously existing animal. This is accomplished by the removal of the DNA containing nucleus of an egg and its replacement by the DNA from another cell.
Therapeutic Cloning - Also known as Embryo Cloning refers to the production of human embryos for research purposes. The goal of this is not to create cloned babies but to harvest the stem cells of the embryo that have the potential to develop into almost any cell in the body.
Reproductive Cloning can be used for creating Human Clones. A Human Clone is also referred as a time-delayed identical twin of another person. The reason for this is that it is not possible to transfer the memory and personality of the donor to the newly cloned. The reason being that of the environmental factors and random events which are surely bound to be different during the development of a newly cloned. Moreover according to researchers the genetic contribution to looks, height, and complexion are also affected by environmental factors. A clone is not an exact replica of the original, but just a much younger identical twin. As with identical twins, the clone and the original being will have different set of fingerprints. Scientists have been cloning animals for many years. In 1952, the first animal, a tadpole, was cloned. Before the creation of Dolly the sheep in1996, the first mammal cloned from the cell of an adult animal, clones were created from embryonic cells. Since Dolly, researchers have cloned a number of large and small animals including sheep, goats, cows, mice, pigs, cats, rabbits, and a gaur. But it was the cloning of Dolly's which shocked the world. This event also raised the possibilities of Human Cloning. Since then Governments all over the world have been busy trying to prevent the advent of human cloning. The scientist community however, remains divided.
Why Human Cloning should be allowed ?
A Possible Answer to Infertility - Cloning can provide an efficient solution to infertility. Artificial fertilisation has limited success. Women who are infertile can have their own babies. This can be achieved by implanting the cloned embryos into their bodies.
Treatment Of Diseases - Special cells called embryonic stem cells have the potential to develop into any other type of cell in the body e.g. liver cell, pancreatic cell, skin, blood, heart muscle, brain cell etc. These stem cells can be implanted into the body to treat various diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, heart diseases, cancer especially blood cancer, auto-immune disorders, improvements in burn treatment, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery
Organ Transplantation - Scientists can clone the patient to produce identical organ. These can be used for transplanting into patients suffering from organ damaging diseases and conditions. The operation will have no repulsion at all. It will be safer and directly benefit the patients as such cells, tissues and organs would neither trigger an immune response nor require the use of immunosuppressive drugs. scientists can clone the patient, they he can have an identical liver. The operation will have no repulsion at all. It will be safer and directly benefit the patients.
Designer Babies - The use of cloning techniques makes it theoretically possible to genetically engineer children, also known as Designer Babies. Genes that offer benefits such as height or intelligence could be incorporated into embryo. Defective genes that trigger a disease or disability should can be disarmed. One can also raise an identical child at least in terms of generic make up after the unfortunate death of their child by cloning the dead.
Better understanding of genetic diseases - Cloning may provide a better understanding of the nature of genetic diseases. It will further aid in the production of embryos from which cells could be obtained to find the cause and remedy.
Stopping The Ageing Process - Further research in Human Cloning has the possibility to eliminate the ageing process
Why Human Cloning should not be allowed ?
Junkyard Of Human Parts - All forms of human cloning is unnecessary and immoral which have various ethical, religious, social, legal and biological implications. Just like a junkyard of materials, cloning will lead to a junkyard of Human Parts for experimentation.
Clones as commodities - Clones may be treated as mere commodities or objects and might not be treated as unique individuals because of their purpose and usage.
Clone Black Market - A black market for cloned embryos may also come up where issueless couples could buy the clone of an embryo. Foetuses could also rise from desirable donors who want to clone themselves, i.e., athletes, film stars, scientists and others.
Defective Outcome - Many cloned animals have subtle brain defects or other problems. There is a very high possibility of this happening with humans which will devastating effects
Social Acceptability - A cloned child may face unacceptability in any society where heredity and racial prejudices still influence ethical standards. There is no guarantee of the physical and psychological welfare of the cloned child. The child might suffer from a loss of identity or freedom.
Defective Parenting - Cloning may encourage parents to compare their cloned child to the adult from whom it was cloned. Therefore they would value their cloned children according to how well they meet expectations instead of loving them as they are. This will affect the quality of parenting and family life. This will also impart a sense of diminished individuality and personal autonomy in a cloned individual besides disturbing the psychology as well.
Abusive Technology - Cloning leads to the creation of armies of soldiers, large amounts of workers which will create lower class for clones & compromising individualities. It would bring grave risks of abuses to human dignity and exploitation by unscrupulous people.
Loss Of Genetic Variation - If people start to clone themselves or their loved ones it will lead to loss of genetic variation which can have serious outcomes like extinction of mankind.
Sex Determination - Couples can decide the sex of a child it and it will lead to imbalance in the sex ratio which will further have grave consequences.
False Sense Of Authority - Human cloning represents the rejection of God's Authority. The ability to produce a life gives a False sense of pride and authority as there is an order in god's creation which lacks in Human Cloning.
The extent of ethical, moral, social, legal and biological issues is vast and ever expanding. Human cloning. There are certain Pros and Cons to Human Cloning but what is most alarming fact is that mankind has been witness to gross misuse of scientific discoveries, outstanding examples of such misuse are the Two World Wars which brought t grief and destruction to Humankind. Various advancements in Warfare by various countries is a sign of another abuse which should not be allowed if humanity needs to exist. What is needed is the proper utilisation and vigorous monitoring of such research. Also needed are all strict safeguards to prevent any misuse. Stem cell research can be carried on without human cloned embryos. All possible dangerous tendencies which might outgrow human control and become destructive need to be curtailed to enable Human Clonning to be a blessing for Mankind.