Genetic Cloning: Ethical or not?

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Genetic Cloning: Ethical or not?

Genetic cloning may be our future!

Genetic cloning may be our future!

Kaley E.

Genetic cloning may be our future!

Kaley E.

Kaley E.

Genetic cloning may be our future!

Ally D. and Ashley P.

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On July 5th, 1996, scientists succeeded in introducing Dolly to the world. Dolly was the first mammal genetically cloned from two different sheep, beginning a new trend. This discovery has begun to move from private businesses and schools into the public as well. Despite never intending to be a commercial industry, multiple parties across the globe have begun marketing the cloning and modifying of pets. 

The process of cloning takes place with the desired organism’s skin cells and a female’s empty egg (DNA extracted), then fused with electricity. This electricity causes the cells to unite, then divide as an embryo, which is then implanted into another animal. The previous organism will then have a clone with the same genetic DNA, essentially creating a copy. 

Although cloning animals such as Dolly may seem unnecessary, scientists believe that by using these models they can analyze how genes and the environment would react with certain diseases, as the clones with the same genetics would make it clear when identifying affected areas. So why haven’t scientists cloned more animals? Aside from a group of Chinese scientists who produced two identical monkeys in 2018, no one has been able to create a clone that survived to adulthood. Monkeys are the closest animals to humans, making them easier for researching diseases. According to Moo-Ming Poo, director of the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai, “Combining SCNT with gene editing will allow researchers to create ‘ideal nonhuman primate models’ for studying disease mechanisms and screening drugs.”

This leads us one step closer to cloning people. However, some would argue the cloning of an individual wouldn’t be humane. Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture explains, “The key ethical issue with therapeutic cloning is the moral status of the cloned embryo, which is created solely for destruction. The ethical issues with reproductive cloning include genetic damage to the clone, health risks to the mother, very low success rate meaning loss of large numbers of embryos and fetuses, psychological harm to the clone, complex altered familial relationships, and commodification of human life.”

“The primary concern is using it [genetic cloning] inappropriately. The underlying ethical debate is if it [cloning] is reasonable. Is it justified to be using this approach over natural fertility-based methods of fertilization to produce another being?” Ph.D. scientist John Hennebolde said. “The guidelines aren’t set so those discussions haven’t led to a conclusion if it’s ever going to be appropriate.”

“Modifying DNA does not necessarily mean that you need to use cloning. You can use gene modification, and things like genetic engineering to do that [prevent diseases] without cloning,” Hennebolde added.

In considering both perspectives, it seems as if cloning is at a standstill. Ethics and health concerns compete with modern capabilities and advancements in the biological field. Currently, culture is faced with an ultimatum, as to whether or not science can provide a safer alternative to cloning.

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