Cloning is the creation of an exact genetic copy of any organism. There exist different kinds of cloning processes which are important in the decision of legal and ethical issues. Before we speak of the technical matters, there are a few things that need understanding.
The Need for Human Cloning
One of the key issues that science throws up through genetic engineering is making a better tomorrow, or in fact, improving the flaws gifted by Nature so we are promised better offspring. The bottom line here remains that there has to be complete human control over genetics in order to justify the scientific procedure of cloning.
There are a multitude of such justifications that are put up and here are some that are the typical examples:
- People can have clones of themselves who are carbon copies and can do more of their work and achieve more in the world.
- The lines of death and life can be blurred as anybody can be easily replaced by a genetically identical clone.
- Sickness can be cured because the same kind of marrow, blood type, etc., will be easily available with a clone.
- Clones can be produced with lower or higher mental capacities that would be similar to human robots for performing specialized tasks or even labor.
- Genetic disorders can be curbed and even removed with this process.
- Scientific curiosity can be satisfied and one will be able to learn from scientific discoveries.
The Process of Cloning
Cloning is a method actually "cloned" from a process that occurs in nature commonly seen in bacteria which multiply by splitting themselves in half and each of the cells are complete organisms by themselves which share the same DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). These bacteria reproduce asexually but are genetically similar and thus are clones of each other in all respects. However, during sexual reproduction, the process is very different when the nucleus of a sperm cell carrying the male DNA impregnates the nucleus of the egg cell containing the female DNA. The resulting offspring thus carries genetic traits from both parents even if they themselves are not identical to the parents.
In the process of cloning, to create the cloned cells, there exists differing methods that depend on the kinds of cells to be cloned and the results desired. Cloning an animal is very different from cloning a human gene. When cloning an animal, a nucleus of a cell containing chromosomes made up of DNA protein is placed into an egg cell or oocyte from which the nucleus has been removed. This egg cell divides to produce the embryo that in turn develops into the animal. Thus cloning an animal involves creating an exact genetic copy of the parent cells. This technique is called nuclear transfer or nuclear transplantation.
However, the process of cloning humans the gene is needed to be first isolated from the genome and this DNA sequence is copied into a smaller piece of DNA, for example a plasmid. This separation makes complex beings simpler to reciprocate through cloning.
Types of Cloning Technologies
- DNA cloning or Recombinant DNA technology
- Reproductive Cloning
- Therapeutic Cloning
The third process of cloning raises some questions about the abstract, about the interference with Nature and with God. This was the theological argument by Richard Seed that we as humans are justified in controlling our destiny and our reproductive process.
However, President Clinton countered this argument with another theological debate while banning the process of cloning, saying that we are trying to "play God". In fact, this is the very argument that bans human cloning in many countries. Bioethics remains a hot topic of debate between the scientific community and various organizations and individuals worldwide.
The way that the proponents of cloning humans go, we are indeed trying to play God. Just as most inventions used for destruction were never meant to be for that purpose, the process of human cloning that seems to have a clean agenda can easily turn tables to become a reason for destruction and quick riches. Eugenic experiments of this sort, though, would underline the autonomous choice but they are also demeaning to humans besides being plain selfish and odious, they may prove overtly dangerous in the wrong hands.
Human cloning remains a scientific miracle and while we have successfully cloned animals, we must at the same time, focus on the fact that on the other hand we are constantly abusing Nature. Nothing can save us from extinction if we destroy what we have, even if we think of regeneration through the miracle of science. It is thus more important to channelize our energies and resources into benefiting the human society.