Evaluation of various pros and cons of human cloning, which happens to be one of the most-debated topics in the world today, will give you a rough idea as to whether this practice will be beneficial for us or not.
“It (human cloning) is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.” ― Barack Obama
What started off as a major achievement in the field of biology, has of late become one of the most controversial issues in the world. We are talking about human cloning, the process of creating a genetically identical copy of a human. The entire world seems to be divided over the ethical issues of cloning, with some people advocating the practice and some opposing it.
Human cloning is the practice of creating genetically identical copy/copies of a person, or cells and tissues of the person. The process is quite similar to the process in which identical twins are born. The difference though, is that the birth of identical twins is a natural process, while what we refer to as human cloning is an artificial process. Basically, it can be grouped into two categories:
~ Human reproductive cloning – wherein a human clone is created.
~ Therapeutic cloning – wherein human cells are cloned for use in medicine and research.
Everything has its advantages and disadvantages; human cloning is no exception. It is always wise to understand the positive and negative sides of the issue before forming an opinion. Irrespective of whether it is human reproductive cloning or therapeutic cloning, the pros and cons have to be taken into consideration when trying to determine whether the process is safe or not.
Pros of Human Cloning
Human cloning is likely to revive extinct species, help childless couples have children, and perhaps, may contribute to treat certain diseases.
We have time and again heard the argument that cloning―in general―will not just help us to save plant and animal species from extinction, but will also help us revive species which have become extinct. In its advanced form, it will be of great help for humans as well. The practice of reproductive cloning, for instance, will help infertile couples to have children. In fact, even same-sex couples will be able to have children without having to resort to methods like sperm donation and surrogacy.
More importantly, genetic modification will have an all new meaning, as parents will be able to choose specific traits that they would like to see in their child. As for therapeutic cloning, it will help the doctors to replace damaged tissues and organs in the human body and treat various diseases and disorders. The proponents of human cloning also argue that the process of organ transplantation will become much easier if it is developed to its full potential.
Cons of Human Cloning
Human cloning is likely to cause chaos and divide among people, challenge the religious beliefs of many, which may lead to unnecessary debates and controversies, and may, perhaps, increase criminal activities.
seem to be impressed. Their argument: creating a human clone would be interfering with the natural process of procreation and that, in turn, will have a domino effect on other attributes of life. For instance, if genes are modified to create smarter human beings by means of cloning, average humans, who are not the products of this process, will have no takers.
Similarly, cloning will result in a huge divide among people, and clones will not be subjected to equal treatment. In the world where people are divided based on their race and caste, we can’t afford to have one more reason for people to hate each other. As for the religious heads of different religious sects, they are of the opinion that human cloning will put forth man as the creator, and that will be like challenging the authority of the supreme entity.
Some critics are also quick to point out that more than 90 percent of the attempts to clone mammals have met with failure in the past. So, it will be like putting the human DNA at risk. It is difficult to say whether things will work exactly as we expect them to. More importantly, the chances of human DNA getting contaminated cannot be ruled out, and if that happens, we will have a whole lot of new conditions to deal with.
Worse of all, nobody can guarantee that human cloning won’t be exploited by people for their vested interests. Criminals, for instance, may use clones for unethical practices or to elude the law enforcement authorities. It may seem like an idea straight out of a sci-fi film, but the chances of this cannot be ruled out.
As far as therapeutic cloning in concerned, its pros seem to have a slight advantage over its cons. That, however, cannot be said about reproductive cloning, wherein too many ifs and buts are involved. There also exist concepts such as replacement cloning, wherein a clone of previously living person can be created, and persistence cloning, wherein the cloned body will be created to do away with the process of aging. However, these concepts are still on the paper and it’s a bit too early to talk about them. As of today, even therapeutic cloning can be best described as “an active area of research”; not a full-fledged medical practice.