The Ethics and Dangers of Human Cloning

June 1, 2017
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Humans have been able to successfully clone mammals since 1996 when a sheep named Dolly was successfully cloned. Ever since scientists have been working towards the ultimate epigenetics goal, human cloning! However scientists should not be focusing their efforts of human embryo cloning.

 

Knowledge is important, but it is how we obtain that knowledge where human embryo cloning is subject to scrutiny. First of all it is important to understand we can clone humans. It involves a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, in short this process is taking a body cell (such as a skin cell) and an egg cell and making an embryo. When the embryo is produced it is studied by scientists, the scientist can’t let the clone mature so after they are done researching it the embryo is be killed. This is ethically wrong, a living human organism is created with the knowledge it will be killed. Genetic experiments were the subject will be knowingly killed go back to around 1940s where the Nazis would capture and imprison test subjects then kill them. After these experiments were exposed several prosecutions took place known as the Nuremberg trials. These trials lead to the creation of the Nuremberg code published in 1947. This code is an ethical code condemning experiments of this nature. Decades later and the Nuremberg code still applies to things like embryo cloning and condemns it.

 

Moving past the lack of moral implications the cloning process isn’t safe. Wolf Reik epigeneticist and molecular biologist and Cambridge University stated that it is estimated that 99% of clones die or suffer genetic abnormalities in the embryonic stage. Because of the way these clones are created it is incredibly difficult to detect these genetic abnormalities. If the clone was allowed to grow genetic disorders may surface that were undetected when they were embryos. Also hypothetically if a clone that was the product of somatic cell nuclear transfer grew up that clone would die significantly younger. Because of the way somatic cell transfer works the skin cell that help create the embryo isn’t new it comes from an adult meaning it is an older cell and will die younger.

Scientists continue to experiment with human cloning despite its ethical and safety issues, but the majority of research is useless and a waste of money. Scientists are researching something that most countries have banned completely. Researchers spend time and money working towards something that at least 34 countries have made outright illegal including the entire European Union. In the United States where most human embryo cloning research is happening 15 states have made it illegal, but no federal law has been passed. The National Institute of Health which is a part of the U.S. Health & Human services department has spent around 500 million dollars on stem cell research. Shoveling money into an industry which President George W. Bush spoke against and cut funding for. Scientists and research continue to use time and money for a dead-end breakthrough which several countries outlawed years ago.

 

Some people claim that human embryo cloning should be researched and some people like Gregg Easterbrook who compares human cloning to twins and says they could live a normal life, but he ignores the research done by biologists such as the previously mentioned Wolf Reik that found that the clones that Easterbrook is so excited to see in society would in fact have some immense genetic abnormalities if they didn’t die in the womb.

 

In conclusion human embryo cloning is a waste of effort, time, and government money and is dangerous and morally wrong in the eyes of people and governments around the world. Because of these reasons scientist should be focusing on more productive things.






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