The Controversy of Human Cloning

Introduction

Cloning is the process of extracting the genes of one living organism and creating an identical copy of it. The new creation is called a clone. Cloning can be done in cells, tissues, genes, and also the entire organism. Cloning is one of the most researched and debated genetic engineering topics in biology.

Whereas human cloning is illegal in several countries of the world, cloning stem cells from humans seems to be an up-and-coming field in research. Cloning stem cells seek to assist people with spinal injuries or other conditions in replacing damaged tissues. On the other hand, opponents of this practice argue the moral and ethical practices involved in the practice.

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This essay discusses the concept and analyses the acceptability of human cloning, sharing insights on the issue. The submission highlights various arguments against human cloning and also those for the practice. It concludes that human cloning should be practiced, however, on the logic that it is used to save the lives of people with severe illnesses such as kidney problems.

Cloning

The term cloning involves several different processes that are employed to generate genetically identical copies of a biological organism. In simple terms, cloning consists of taking part of a body and re-creating it elsewhere. Cloning could occur in two forms, fission or fusion. Fission is a process when a cell mass divides into two identical forms. The growth of each of these masses develop into two unalike but genetically duplicated or near-duplicate organism. Logically, this happens with identical twins.

Cloning by fusion occurs when a nucleus is transplanted into an egg that its original nucleus has been removed. Insertion of the nucleus in the egg restructures the gene in the nucleus and replicates the whole being. Fission is thus, nuclei transfer.

Fusion contrasts with fission on the basis that the offspring consists of only one parent who contains a similar genome with the brood. In fission, the young, like the progeny during normal sexual reproduction, accede 50% of the genome of each parent.

Cloning technology has been in practice for quite some time. The first cloning was done with vertebrates such as frogs over a century ago. Besides, in the last 20 years, a clone of a sheep named 'Dolly' was done, but the offspring died six years later. This practice, however, made human cloning achievable only by principle rather than practically. The arguments revolve around ethical and moral issues surrounding the whole exercise.

Practically, human cloning might induce a similar reaction with the human space exploration program, a revolutionary achievement, but its benefits are not quite significant. Re-engineering of the human reproductive process has heightened anxiety among individuals who think that the process conflicts the ethical precincts of science. Nevertheless, assessing the moral dilemma is difficult without first looking at both the prospective advantages and the arguments against human cloning.

Objections to human cloning

Whereas the main argument for human cloning is the cloning of tissue for transportation, what is distinctive concerning this argument is that human tissue can be replicated to abort the embryo to be a source for human muscles. Therefore, this notion creates new protestations.

Abortion is unethical

Christians, while considering integrities of embryonic tissue practice, consider abortion as morally wrong. Therefore, they argue that this research should not be undertaken because there is no informed consent for the use of the embryo, and it amounts to wrongful killing (Rice, 2008). They assert that mothers cannot consent. Various proponents to abortion claim that this argument is flawed because the tissue is from a woman's body but a body from another, with different genotype, blood among other aspects (De Melo‐Martín, 2002). Christian's claims relating to consent seem problematic in the issue of cloning; if the embryo were to be cloned from the parent, it has to be from her and, arguably, a tissue from her.

A cloned tissue at some point could exist individualistically with its privileges and will eventually have their interests as other people have. However, this situation occurs when the person becomes conscious of their being. The occurrence or absence of a distinctive genetic material irrelevant.

It is, therefore, not justifiable to treat an identical twin differently from a non-identical twin just because the non-identical twin possesses a distinct genotype.

In a society that allows abortion whenever suitable, it could be hard to perceive how females could reasonably be disallowed to undertake abortion for a reason being protecting the woman’s life. On the other hand, proponents perceive that it is more pious of the embryo to be considered as an item of esteem that its body parts be utilized for respectable purposes, instead of no purpose at all.

A clone is an inferior being.

Some have argued that being a clone is worse (Pattinson, 2002). This might be credible because a person suffers in virtue of being a clone. In this regard, an individual lives in the shadow of their parent. It creates a feeling of being inferior to a normal individual and being treated as a means rather than an end (Instrumentalisation). Therefore cloning of an individual from a cell or tissue could raise issues that need consideration, especially how the creation is perceived and treated by other individuals. Some argue that cloning is terrible when it creates a human because of the aspect of instrumentalization as compared with a tissue or cell cloning (Forster, 2011).

Creating a life to end it to provide tissue

Cloning of tissues and cells to create embryos as a source of tissue could be seen as a deliberate attempt to create a life and then destroying it, which seems intentional. This undertaking differs from abortion, where women don't plan to get pregnant to terminate the pregnancy.

Questions surrounding this aspect continue to arise, especially whether it is wrong to conceive an embryo or fetus for the intention of providing a tissue. Nevertheless, most recommendations on the cloning of fetal tissue aim to prevent women from conceiving children just to provide tissues.

The argument behind this reasoning is that abortion itself is wrong. Guidelines against cloning are that we cannot benefit from wrongdoing. More profoundly, there exists a concern that promoting some good outcomes from abortion would encourage abortion itself.

Conversely, proponents of cloning fetal argue that abortion would not be encouraged since the abortion, in this case, is very special because it is being used for medical purposes, which are controlled (Wachbroit, 2017). However, the question ought to be, if the use of fetal tissue is the best approach of increasing the pool of transplantable tissue and organs?

Surrogacy concerns

Presently, embryonic and fetal growth can only happen inside a woman's womb; therefore, some of the proposals associated with cloning necessitate a surrogate. Supposedly, any surrogate would be freely consenting; however, issues relating to surrogacy could arise, especially with the fact that host mothers face grave sufferings, most of which are caused by exceedingly high rates of artless abortions (Niemann & Lucas‐Hahn, 2012).

Conversely, there are reasonable debates for human cloning as well, some of them include;

Cloning as an approach to develop organs, tissues, and cells for transfer. The need for more organs and tissues for medical purposes has seen the debate for human cloning as an essential discussion in the field. For instance, in the USA of 5% of the needed organs ever become unavailable. This situation makes it worse since the discrepancy between the donors and the recipients are increasing at a significant rate annually (Badylak et al., 2012).

Besides, not only is there a shortage of organs or tissues for the patients with organ failure but also a severe problem with the compatibility of the tissue or organs utilized necessitating immunosuppressive therapy that has severe side effects. Therefore, using a cloned tissue has several theoretical benefits since it could be profuse as well as a near-perfect immune-compatibility.

Conception and potentiality

Another morally significant point in human cloning development is conception. Even though there is no conception in human cloning, there is just a procedure of instituting some alterations in an already living cell. However, proponents of the perception that an individual starts to exist at conception could mirror cloning as a conception (Forster, 2011). Similar to the argument that life begins at conception in normal sexual reproduction, is that life begins at the point of nuclear transfer in cloning.

Therefore, perceiving cloning in this perspective reveals novel challenges for the individuals who perceive that embryos have the potentiality of being regarded as humans and the moral significance of an idea as a basis for obstruction to abortion. If a human's cells could be persons, then we cannot entreat an embryo to be a person to justify the special handling it is given. Therefore, cloning compels scientists to abandon the old opinions that support the special treatment of fertilized eggs (Badylak et al., 2012).

Fetal Tissue Transfer

Fetal tissue process has been largely employed in the medical field; For instance, the human fetal replacement has been employed as a standard treatment for thymic aplasia. Also, fetal tissue transplantation has been used to source tissue for transplantation condition; human fetal liver and umbilical cord have been regarded as sources for treating acute leukemia and aplastic anemia (Badylak, 2012).

The liver has, for a while, been used as a source for tissues in radioactivity accidents and storage conditions. However, the main problem arising from these situations is the immune rejection of these tissues. Also, the fetal brain tissue from aborted embryos has been for a while used as sources of tissues in treating Dementia symptoms such as Parkinson's.

The neural scions have demonstrated enduring existence and functioning with Parkinson’s disease even though substantial challenges persist. All these advancements in medicine have called for more practice and invention into better treatment of certain conditions (Hilmert, 2002).

Conclusion and recommendations

In conclusion, most scientists argue that human cloning could be justified if the usage seeks to generate stem cells and tissues that are used in the treatment of diseases. From this perspective, it is, therefore, reasonable for scientists to generate embryos to provide a source for multipotent stem cells and tissues; also, it is morally necessary to produce fetuses and embryos as a source of matter for transfer.

This justification is based on the logic that;

The assertion that the principled standing of the replicated fetus and premature embryo is not distinctive from the moral status of the somatic cell out of which they are acquired.

The assertion that no ethically appropriate disparity exists among the fetuses and embryos until some crucial stage when the mind starts to develop and serve.

The logic that the medical profession is continuous with prevailing practices such as fetal tissue transplantation and regarding persons as a resource of tissue for transfer.

The logic that stems from benevolence- that the practice would attain much good, especially in saving lives.

The rationale based on autonomy, which argues that individuals should be able to govern the providence of their tissues and cells more particularly when they are transformed into other forms.

The knowledge of this submission evades all the common protestations related to human cloning. However, its primary arguments are on the practicality and safety of the process. It argues that human cloning should be undertaken with the intent of reviving a patient's lifespans and also to improve their value substantially.

Whereas people opposed to this action argue on the basis of human poise and the rights of the cells of diverse types, lives are being lost due to severe illnesses, including kidney diseases. While the society might wish to have its morals practiced, a woman who wishes to carry their clone or save another's child, her decision should not be interfered with.

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The current development on humanoid totipotent stem cell lines from nascent tissues implies that scientists are edging nearer to increasing knowledge of the cellular development and variation, thus increasing optimism of producing tissues or cells directly from totipotent stem cells instead of embryos. Therefore, while undertaking current practices, scientists could routinely utilize the embryos available instead of terminating a large number of nuclei that could be utilized as resources for human cells and tissue. However, to ensure increased levels of morality and ethical practices, proposals should be made supporting the consent of a person that requires the tissue, who is also the source of the matter.

References

Badylak, S. F., Weiss, D. J., Caplan, A., & Macchiarini, P. (2012). RETRACTED: Engineered whole organs and complex tissues.

De Melo‐Martín, I. (2002). On cloning human beings. Bioethics, 16(3), 246-265.

Forster, H. (2011). Legal responses to the potential cloning of human beings. Valparaiso University Law Review, 32(2), 433-467.

Hilmert, L. J. (2002). Cloning human organs: potential sources and property implications. Ind. LJ, 77, 363.

Niemann, H., & Lucas‐Hahn, A. (2012). Somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning: practical applications and current legislation. Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 47, 2-10.

Pattinson, S. D. (2002). Reproductive cloning: can cloning harm the clone?. Medical law review., 10(3), 295-307.

Rice, T. W. (2008). The historical, ethical, and legal background of human-subjects research. Respiratory care, 53(10), 1325-1329.

Wachbroit, R. (2017). Genetic encores: The ethics of human cloning. The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy. Fall, 97.


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