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Many Politicians are calling for a ban on human cloning. Research the issue online at websites and the MacEwan Library databases using key words such as “human cloning,” “ethics,” and “cloning debates.” Write an essay in which you advocate either for, or against, a ban on human cloning.  You should be as current as possible.

Types of Cloning

Since the advent of the Modern period and with the contributions of the Industrial Revolution, scientists have made gigantic leaps and advancement in new discoveries and inventions. One such major breakthrough in the field of biotechnology and medical sciences has been the introduction of cloning. In the field of biotechnology, cloning refers to the process of propagation of cells or DNA fragments of organisms such that every new organism formed out of the proliferated cell or DNA fragment is identical to the subject organism (Shapiro, Biezuner and Linnarsson 618). This process is also called molecular cloning through which copies of cells or DNA fragments are artificially produced and the copies produced are called clones. This kind of cloning is different from natural cloning which occurs in plants, fungi and bacteria, which multiply and spread through the process of asexual reproduction. Under artificial cloning, also called as Reproductive cloning, genetically identical animals are created using generally using “somatic cell nuclear transfer” (SCNT).  Many politicians are calling for a ban on human cloning and this essay argues on the same aspect through highlighting the benefits and the cons.

In 1996, Dolly The sheep was the first clone mammal created successfully by Sir Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell at the Roslin Institute at Scotland. Since then, a number of species have been cloned such as tadpoles, mice, monkeys, pigs, horses and many other (Clark 135). The consequences that followed the success of cloning the first sheep was the question regarding the possibility of cloning humans. Technically, human cloning is conceivable however the practice of it is hindered by various legal and ethical threats that is poses to human society.

The making of a genetically identical copy of a human is called human cloning. Generally, it is to refer artificial or unnatural human cloning, which is the reproduction of human cells and tissues (Keefer 8875). Also, not only the natural conception but also the delivery of identical twins are not an example where the term can be used. Commonly, there are two types of theoretical human cloning, reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning (Robertson 142). Therapeutic cloning would involve cloning cells from a human for the medicinal and transplants usages and it is an active area of research, however, it is not in medical practice anywhere in the world, as of 2014. Therapeutic cloning at present is being researched by two common methods, pluripotent stem cell induction and somatic-cell nuclear transfer. Reproductive cloning would require making a whole cloned human, instead of mere particular tissues or cells (Yamada 533).

While the concept of human cloning is judged, it would be noteworthy to dwell into the benefits that can be obtained from this process. In future, with the help of therapeutic cloning, scientists hope to generate organs and tissues for the purpose of transplants. For doing this, DNA would be extracted by scientists from the person who needs a transplant and insert it into an enucleated egg. When the egg with the patient’s DNA, begins to split, the transformation of embryonic stem cells can be done into any form of tissue that needed to be harvested (Takahashi and Yamanaka 2459). It is the stem cells that would help in generating an organ or tissue for the recipient’s genetic match. As mentioned in the theory, the cloned organ would then become capable of being transplanted into the patient with no risk of tissue reception. The need for organ donation would be significantly decrease once organs could be generated from cloned human embryos.

Benefits of Human Cloning

Human cloning can not only generate new organ but also solve the problem of infertility in women by implanting the cloned embryos into the bodies of infertile women (Galli et al. 143). Damaged organs, impaired tissues can be corrected and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, and Parkinson’s can also be cured by this method. It can be used to create bone marrow clones to treat individuals suffering from leukaemia (Kokai, Marra, and Rubin 404). Despite the significant solutions that human cloning may provide, it is not just restricted by laws or ethical groups but even by the scientific organizations themselves, and rightly so.

Although the benefits are exceptional there are reasons for the oppositions as well to calling a ban on human cloning. Two monkeys, the long-tailed macaques Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua which were the first cloned primates produced by the same technique used for Dolly the Sheep (Could 245). According to scientists, populations of monkeys that are genetically identical can be used for researches on human diseases. However, it raises unethical concerns among the critics of the process of human cloning. It brings the world closer to human cloning. As per the researchers, the cloned monkeys can be used as a model for studying diseases with a genetic basis. It also includes to a certain extent, cancer, a metabolic and immune disorder. Also, the technique used for the purpose of cloning Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua was inefficient and the process was hazardous. Therefore, there were certainly a few numbers of risks identified in human cloning. Any unsuccessful attempts towards carrying out the process would only have possibilities of deformity, miscarriage or unbearable conditions. Also, excessive cloning will lead to the loss of gene diversity. When gene diversity is lost and no mutation is allowed to the cloned group then they will barely survive the introduction of any new disease. The ability of a species to adapt to changing environmental factors is weakened by cloning.

The power of altering the genes of human beings will lead to a deliberate reproduction of unsolicited characters. In such conditions, human cloning might lead to malpractices in the society. In order to address the specific issues that arise from the cloning there is a need for stricter laws and regulations (Kendal 24). It is needed to ensure that clones are granted with the same rights as the non-clones and they are not abused. Any form of bigotry or partiality against the clones should be rejected as racism or anti-Semitism.

It is important to consider the expenses involved in creating a clone to consider the expense of cloning and the ease of the technique. Cloning is not a simple process. It is a very difficult and expensive procedure. The macaque cloning has the capability to provide certain insights however the process is difficult and lengthy. Observing the number of times scientists needed to implant an embryo in for creating the two primates, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua it can be stated the procedure is not simple in any way. Also, the type of mutation that can be found in the two primates is still questionable (Rickinson et al. 162). It is important to mention that due to the lack of cost-effectiveness, the common men will not be benefited by it. Thus, practically, human cloning faces both technical and economic barriers. Research on cloning is supported by various research institutes. According to them the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer can enhance the capability to produce cloned cells in order to test possible therapies on diseases. However, they also have objection on the usage of somatic cell nuclear transfer for the purpose of reproductive cloning and create human (Matsunari et al. 2558). From the research purpose, it is believed that reproductive cloning should be continued. The research on reproductive cloning will provide valuable insights into the nature of the body and its relationship with diseases. The researches will create a pathway to those particular disease’s possible treatment. Although human cells are not involved in the cloning research it should involve strict ethical guidelines. Scientists are accountable for the cloned macaques and they do not intend to plan in order to pursue human cloning and there are several scientific obstacles that prevent such a project getting dismantled. It is only the ethical considerations that will remain the potential hurdle in the research of human cloning. The choice is between the benefit of human cloning or moral ramification.

In view of all these implications of human, it can be concluded that presently the cons of human cloning far outweigh the benefits of it. It puts human rights at stake. The UN Declaration on Human Cloning calls for all member states to adopt a ban on human cloning, according to that it is incompatible with human dignity and therefore needs the protection of human life." Most people are likely to disapprove it as it poses a threat to ethical, social, and religious values. It is, without doubt, unethical, however, generations change and beliefs evolve and it is never known what the future might hold for the society and science. Perhaps, people of this decades will not live long enough to see armies of human clones however if human cloning is practised today, there is a chance to live that long even if as a clone of self.

References:

Clark, Andrew. "Does Dolly Deserve Defense: An Analysis of the Patentability of Cloned Livestock." J. High Tech. L. 15 (2014): 135.

Could, Tidal Cycles. "Monkey Clones." 245-246.

Galli, Cesare, et al. "Ovum pick up, intracytoplasmic sperm injection and somatic cell nuclear transfer in cattle, buffalo and horses: from the research laboratory to clinical practice." Theriogenology 81.1 (2014): 138-151.

Keefer, Carol L. "Artificial cloning of domestic animals." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.29 (2015): 8874-8878.

Kendal, Evie. "Introduction: The Need for Ectogenesis." Equal Opportunity and the Case for State Sponsored Ectogenesis. Palgrave Pivot, London, 2015. 1-25.

Kokai, Lauren E., Kacey Marra, and J. Peter Rubin. "Adipose stem cells: biology and clinical applications for tissue repair and regeneration." Translational Research 163.4 (2014): 399-408.

Matsunari, Hitomi, et al. "Blastocyst complementation generates exogenic pancreas in vivo in apancreatic cloned pigs." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110.12 (2013): 4557-4562.

Rickinson, Alan B., et al. "Cellular immune controls over Epstein–Barr virus infection: new lessons from the clinic and the laboratory." Trends in immunology 35.4 (2014): 159-169.

Robertson, John A. "Procreative liberty in the era of genomics." Genetics and Gene Therapy. Routledge, 2017. 109-157.

Shapiro, Ehud, Tamir Biezuner, and Sten Linnarsson. "Single-cell sequencing-based technologies will revolutionize whole-organism science." Nature Reviews Genetics 14.9 (2013): 618.

Takahashi, Kazutoshi, and Shinya Yamanaka. "Induced pluripotent stem cells in medicine and biology." Development 140.12 (2013): 2457-2461.

Yamada, Mitsutoshi, et al. "Human oocytes reprogram adult somatic nuclei of a type 1 diabetic to diploid pluripotent stem cells." Nature 510.7506 (2014): 533.

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