The world of science has recently reported some paradigm-shifting results in the field of cloning. Specifically, it has been assumed that the possibility of human cloning is due to the promising results evidenced by the cloning of animals. On the other hand, scholars admit that they are currently facing some challenges in their studies. The stumbling block, in this particular case, is not merely technical problems. These are important ethical questions that hamper the research in the field of human cloning in the first place.
Clones are typically defined as organisms that possess identical DNA structures. Cloning can occur naturally or it can be made artificially in the laboratory setting. Twins can be viewed as a vivid example of natural cloning. There is not a small number of similarities between natural and artificial clones, and there is a principal difference in physiological and anatomical peculiarities of both beings as well. The year 1997 has become a landmark in the history of cloning technology: the first artificial clone of an animal was brought to life. The living being that appeared came in history as Dolly the Sheep. Thus, it has been proved that creating a precise genetic copy of an organism is made possible with the help of either artificial embryo twinning or nuclear transfer of somatic cells. Cloning technology has, by all means, become a breakthrough in the field of genetic engineering.
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Clearly, cloning as such and cloning technology, on the whole, have both advantages and disadvantages in a medical sense. It cannot be denied that cloning has become an important scientific question in the two last decades. Furthermore, cloning as scientific discovery has initiated a heated public discussion. The advantages of cloning stand as opposed to the primary moral principles that mankind has built its life on. At the same time, it is believed that the rejection of cloning and its criticism are inconsistent. With regard to this, it is important to admit that the misconception of the cloning industry is what makes a part of the reality of the latter. Taking the current state of things into account, it is possible to assume that the mankind is yet incapable of conceptualizing, understanding, and adequately responding to the potential threats of cloning as well as making use of its advantages.
One of the major ethical problems that have evolved with cloning is the so-called gestational parenthood, also known as gestation. Gestation, in its turn, is associated with the concept of biological parenthood. As the public discussion of cloning has ensued, it was revealed that the notions of social and biological parenthood need disambiguating. Hence, scholars specified that social parenthood is normative by nature, whilst biological parenthood is more of a descriptive type. At the same time, the researcher highlight that the process of disintegration of the concept of biological parenthood is taking place. Under the circumstance of the advancement of science and technology process, medical technologies, in particular, social parenthood acquires greater prominence. Thus, the cloning industry has made mankind reconceptualize the notion of parenthood, which is one of the key principles of social roles in modern communities.
As far as the advantages of cloning are concerned, the following points should be mentioned. First, the proponents of the cloning industry make a statement that, cloning would allow infertile persons/couples to have biologically related offspring. Second, cloning industry may potentially clarify the issue of medication of the hereditary diseases. Third, it is believed that creating human clones would solve the donor problem. In addition to that, some scholars assert that cloning could become a great way for people who have encountered loss to deal with it and move on with their lives. Lastly, some scholars believe that with the help of cloning industry, outstanding people, all those who had a sort of talent, could be brought back to life. All things considered, each of the aforementioned aspects is in no way a case when the ends justify the means.
On the other hand, scholars report that due to the cloning industry some progress was achieved in the field of human stem cell research. Specifically, researchers found out that stem cells can be formed from embryonic and body cells. Stem cells from human embryos were derived by means of nuclear transfer of somatic cells. As the nuclear transfer of somatic cells of embryos was permitted legally, the research in the respective field has gained momentum. Furthermore, it has made routine stem cell treatment possible. The ethical and legal response to human stem cell research and, thus, the cloning industry as a whole will depend on the results of the research itself. This is, perhaps, where all discrepancies and ambiguity associated with cloning and experimental trial of stem cell treatment lie.
The following principle should be followed in the fields of genetic engineering, human stem cell research, and cloning industry: researchers in the field of genetic engineering should not consider the human individual as a research object, under the pretext of “improving the quality of life“, but as a Subject itself. Developing this statement further, some scientists claim that not only therapeutic and reproductive cloning are considered immoral from a religious perspective, but they are also regarded as scientifically unethical. The premise is based on the facts that, the freedom of manipulating the genetic material involves limiting the rights of the clone; in addition to that, consciousness, dignity, and the right to live are counted among the primary values of human specifies and proclaimed inalienable birthrights.
In the year 2013, a starting point in the development of human cloning technologies began in the sense that human embryos were cloned for the first time. Evidently, even though the research and ground-breaking discoveries take place in the field of human cloning and genetic engineering in general, no public debate about human cloning comes about. This makes human cloning even more controversial matter.
The vast majority of scholars agree upon the fact that cloning-to-produce-children should be prohibited. Both cloning-to-produce-children and cloning-for-biomedical-research are considered scientifically unethical. In spite of the fact that, cloning with the purposes of biomedical investigation (not to mention the cloning for the purposes of procreation), cloning has become irrelevant to a greater extent, the experiments in the respective field have continued. Finally, the opponents of cloning assert that there is little reason to treat embryonic stem cells produced through cloning as a gold standard for patient-specific stem cells. All things considered, this is how the very idea of cloning is debunked – with sound logic and consistent scientific criticism.
The following aspects are typically addressed as the potential threats lifted by cloning: genetically engineered offspring; fetal and embryonic farming; ectogenesis; manufacturing artificial sperm and eggs; creating headless human beings for growing organs. The fact that each of the aforementioned aspects has been contemplated is alarming in itself.
Cloning occurs when the DNA structure of a human being is copied. It can be due to some natural causes as well as made artificially. Creating clones of an animal and those of an embryo have both become a great leap forward in genetic engineering. On the other hand, a great deal of important ethical matters has appeared. On the one hand, cloning technology has revolutionized cell and tissue engineering and made the study of hereditary diseases possible. Mankind has come to realize that the price it will have to pay was exorbitant. Thus, cloning is regarded as scientifically unethical. However, the scientific researches in the field of cloning are continuing to take place. The positions in favor of and against cloning lack consistency. Mostly, it happens so because the concept of cloning itself is prejudiced. At the same time, the negative aspects of cloning should be considered by all means. Artificial cloning can be viewed as an example of human interference with nature. Human interference with nature has proved itself to be negative. Particularly, cloning can negatively affect the human species in the first place. Clearly, mankind should not interfere with nature as the long-term consequences of any kind of interference with nature are difficult to predict. In addition to that, mankind is still incapable of understanding nature fully and correctly. Building on that, one can assume with utter surety that cloning should be prohibited.