This article describes the benefits and problems associated with the technology of cloning, and tries to answer the question that whether it is good or bad for the progress of mankind.
The Good Side of Cloning
Cloning is a process, wherein one replicates the DNA of an organism, and creates another one that is physically and genetically similar to the original. This means you are recreating an organism from scratch. The first ever animal cloning by scientists at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, gave rise to a sheep called Dolly on February 22, 1997. They had taken a mammary cell from a sheep and inoculated it in an egg. This egg was allowed to grow into an embryo, which was further transplanted into an female sheep. The resultant organism was an exact clone of the sheep whose mammary cell was extracted.
This proves that cloning is possible, and with advancements in the 21st century, it is quite possible that humans too can be cloned. This brings us to the question that is cloning good? The medical fraternity is very happy regarding the prospects of cloning. Just imagine, if you could replicate the vital organs of humans and use them for transplantation. Thus, benefits of human cloning can help to save lives of many people, and keep loved ones safe and sound.
Human cloning would also help people who are suffering from infertility. They can just get themselves cloned and have a baby of their own. If you add a bit of genetic engineering, you will have designer babies that are exact copies of the parents with some additional talents and looks. People will be able to fulfill their desires that they lack, and create a clone of themselves with all the extra qualities they would love to possess.
We might be able to save tigers, whales, and other animals that are on the verge of extinction. What if scientists manage to bring back animal species that have already become extinct, like the dodo? Coming to cloning plants – crops that give more yields can be replicated and modified a bit by using genetic engineering. This will give rise to species that contain more features than the original ones, and will help to overcome world food shortage. Plants can be cloned to produce more pest resistant varieties, and also to fix more atmospheric nitrogen.
The Bad Side of Cloning
There is always the other side to a coin, and every blessing is associated with a curse. Just imagine, you get your loved ones cloned but something goes horribly wrong. These individuals are affected by some kind of mutation and are disease prone. Would you like to see your loved ones suffer so much? What if the personality of your loved ones is no longer transferred into the clone? This clone is cold and deceitful making it very difficult for you to live with it.
There are many villains in the society who would want to disrupt peace and order for their selfish motives. What if these people are able to get scientists to replicate someone who had a disruptive mind-set? Cloning humans will never let the population on Earth attain balance. This will lead to depletion of natural resources and will put stress on the ecosystem. This would lead to more fights between people and countries, for precious resources like water, coal, and food in order to sustain life.
When people are able to clone themselves and get babies, who would like to have a partner? The entire process of giving life will become obsolete with more and more career oriented people opting for the easy way out – cloning. With the technology of genetic engineering in humans, an entire new race of higher minds will be created. Those born the normal way will find it very difficult to match the ones who are genetically modified to have better brains and beauty.
It may so happen that clones are prone to more types of genetic disorders and infections. They may have a grotesque appearance due to some mutation within their genes. They may be taller than normal, like giants, or may have an extra pair of limbs.
Developing long-lost animals or plants may have a different impact on wildlife, and could create a tug of war within the animal and plant community.
A Logical View of Cloning
With all the views put forth in the above paragraphs, it makes one wonder if cloning would be a worthwhile initiative. Many religious and political views lock their horns with the medical fraternity regarding the pros and cons of this technology. It is a question of taking God’s power in our own hands, and creating life from an existing life. You may be able to help people who can’t reproduce naturally, but might create an individual who will forever search for his identity. He won’t be normal, and society will see him as a replica. This will create ruckus in his life, and he won’t be able to come to terms with his own desires and those of the parent.
Cloning to some extent is good. You can replicate organs and blood tissues to save lives. But, cloning humans for harvesting their organs, and super babies with abilities beyond one’s imagination, are bad ideas that will lead to more problems. Most of the time, there are many risks involved. Clones with defects die during birth or in the early stages of life. Few may survive, and will live a life full of defects.
It may be illegal and unethical today to clone humans, but no one knows what the future holds. The future can give birth to clones who are either a boon or a bane to human race. Thus, whether we will choose to become God or remain humans, is something that only time will tell.