Scientists had been working on cloning animals for years. When the breakthrough occurred, the entire medical world was turned on its head. The sea urchin that was cloned over a century ago in 1885 didn’t hit the headlines quite as hard as Dolly the sheep, who was cloned in the 1990s.
Maybe because Dolly is a mammal, her successful cloning seemed to open the Pandora’s Box of the potential for human cloning. Then in 2004 a team of South Korean and American scientists successfully cloned some human tissue. The global population is very divided on the issue of human cloning.
You can’t play God! Some people say. Others see it as an incredible breakthrough in medical science. Others are still waiting to see how the pros and cons of human cloning play out before they take a firm stance on the issue.
It is a solution to the problem of infertility. A woman who cannot conceive could have a cloned embryo implanted in her body. Many infertile couples hang their hopes and dreams on giving birth to an infant who is part of their DNA, just like natural birth couples do.
Benefits in regenerative medicine. A person with a physical problem or disability could have a clone of themselves developed so that the stem cells from the embryo could be used to regenerate their own tissue, body parts, organs, etc. These necessary portions are extracted from the embryo, destroying it in the process.
Human cloning could be used to grow organs or repair damaged tissues and ultimately provide a cure for diseases that currently have no cure and affect millions of people annually. This includes Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Diabetes.
Clone organs for transplant; specifically livers, kidneys and even bone marrow. Cloning bone marrow would result in a cure for leukemia. Cloning organs for transplant is seen in the medical field as potentially the biggest benefit.
The loss of gene diversity. When gene diversity is lost, natural gene mutations which help a species survive new viruses are also lost. A new virus could effectively wipe out entire groups of clones.
There are health risks due to poor cloning success rates. Clones have a 95% problem rate in miscarriage, debilitating conditions and deformities.
Ethical risks and the abuse of this potentially powerful technology. Many groups of people still consider cloning to be playing with the powers of God.
Wide acceptance and practice of cloning could cause upheavals, riots and violent acts by staunch religious groups. Whenever a potentially powerful technology is developed, people with evil plans will try to twist it to suit their evil desires.
Can you imagine someone stealing some of your DNA and then making a clone of you and training it to commit evil deeds with the intention of blaming you for them? Or killing you and letting the clone live your life in your place? Those are some of the fears people have. And they could be well-founded, depending on the direction that cloning research moves.
On the other side of the spectrum, think of the benefit that cloning body parts would be for those who need a heart transplant? There would be no rejection drugs required because it would essentially be that person’s heart being put in to replace their faulty heart. The benefits to mankind are potentially tremendous.
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