Cloning Around MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   The writer, Mary Godwin Shelley, foreshadowed future medical technology and its consequences best in her book, Frankenstein, first published in 1817. In this novel, an intelligent but flawed inventor, Victor, is engaged in a brilliant research project when he mistakenly stumbles upon the secret for creating life. Once he knows this secret, he cannot rest until he applies it to create a living being. However, Victor is subject to many unfortunate misgivings and the creature demolishes everything he has worked for. Shelley's novel runs parallel to a new reproductive technology called cloning, in which man can make an exact replica of a living organism with just one cell.

Why are we so fascinated with the idea of cloning? Just imagine a basketball team composed of five Michael Jordans with four more sitting on the bench. Multiple Mozarts composing symphonies daily or an army of identical Rambo soldiers. Even endangered species could be cloned to create the critical level necessary for their survival. However, scientists who have been trying to improve medical procedures for the future, have other visions. They believe that a clone could be used for transplants in cases of injury and lead to saving human lives that would otherwise have no chance for survival. Nevertheless, there is yet another vision - a distressing one. They see a society where people are cloning embryos for spare parts, money, and amusement, which could be the reality of technological advances.

The process of cloning an embryo from a single cell is complicated, sophisticated and involved. After fertilizing an egg in a Petri dish, the cell will divide in two, the normal step. But then the zona coating is removed with special enzymes and the two cells are carefully separated and placed in different Petri dishes. Now, an artificial zona coating is added to both cells, allowing normal development to proceed. The results: two genetically identical embryos formed from one cell.

In 1993 at George Washington University Medical laboratories, Dr. Jerry Hall constructed a landmark experiment. His results: a cloned human embryo. The procedure is being used in laboratories and may be used in the future. However, I believe that cloning will always be a controversial issue, one that will never have a definite answer. There may always be a question of when life begins and if we, as humans, have the right to play God in order to solve human dilemmas. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to see society change in order to accept this type of genetic engineering and not let it destroy the high standards our forefathers created for this nation. Perhaps, before cloning becomes a permanent procedure in laboratories and hospitals, there should be some thought about whether our society believes cloning will have a positive place in our future.

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i love this so much!


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