Cloning




Cloning Benefits
What if while walking down the street you encountered someone who looked exactly like you? Would you stare in amazement or would your heart be filled with fear? At first some people may look upon the idea of cloning with disgust and question themselves if humans should play God while others would be interested and study the many possibilities that cloning offers. This illustrates the path that cloning has taken over the latter part of the twentieth century.
At first, when cloning was brought up in conversations, people tended to fearfully think of an army of identical persons marching across the earth in hopes of ruling humans. This and many other absurd notions of clones stem from science fiction movies and books where clones are distorted into horrid, monstrous beasts. In Ira Levin\'s science fiction book, The Boys of Brazil, baby Hitlers are cloned in order to take over Hitler\'s dream of his race dominating the world (Harris 361). This distortion was, and still is, a common misconception of the goals of cloning. In reality, cloning, along with its counterpart gene therapy, is not intended for the production of a fully developed individual. Instead, cloning and gene therapy are about the medical advancement of the world\'s population through the control of diseases and replacement of missing hormones and organs. Although there are arguments against them, the possibilities of cloning and gene therapy are important for the production of organs and hormones and as a means to control diseases, but both must also be strictly regulated in order to outlaw the production of fully-developed human clones.
Until 1997 the chance of mammalian cloning seemed just about as unlikely as finding a cure for AIDS. However, 1997 marked the beginning of the wonderful technology known as mammalian cloning. In that year scientists in Scotland cloned, for the first time, a sheep ("The Future" 46). Since then people think that biologists are cloning both human and other mammal\'s embryos only to see how far they can push the scientific envelope, but in fact there are many legitimate reasons for investigating cloning. Embryologists believe that research into cloning could help improve the life of future generations. Cancer research is possibly the most important reason for embryo cloning they argue. Oncologists believe that embryonic study will advance understanding of the rapid cell growth of cancer. Cancer cells develop at approximately the same phenomenal speed as embryonic cells do. By studying the embryonic cell growth, scientists may be able to determine how to stop rapid cell division, and also stop cancer growth in turn (Hyde 15). Another important area of embryo cloning research is embryonic stem cell development. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into almost any type of cell in the body. These cells are not attacked by a person\'s immune system, because of their fast development and undifferentiated status (Wilmut 4). Many doctors believe that these stem cells could be used in treatments for brain and nervous system damage.
Perhaps a more questionable use of cloned embryos is for spare parts and hormones. Production of transgenic farm animals to make organs to transplant in humans with organ failure has been heavily researched. Companies like Alexion Pharmaceutical have been working on the development of "pigs to grow hearts and kidneys that won\'t be rejected in transplants" (Reibstein 58). For example, the cells used to generate tissues for transplantation could include skin and blood cells for treatments of burn and other injuries, bone marrow transplants for leukemia patients, and neurological tissues for degenerative neurological diseases like Parkinson\'s and Alzheimer\'s (Winston 913). Obviously human embryo cloning is a great source for human advancement, and it is the technology that will finally make it possible to apply genetic engineering to humans.
Genetic engineering involves splicing and recombining Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) to create or fix a gene on a chromosome. Many treatment drugs have been made through a procedure known as gene splicing. Gene splicing is a method in which whole genes or parts of genes are put into bacteria where they are reproduced when the bacteria divide. In 1982, two advancements in gene splicing were made; Interferon, a drug used to treat cancer, and Humulin, a synthetic form of insulin used to treat diabetes, were produced through gene splicing