Human Cloning and Ethics

  • October 3, 2017
  • 10:39 pm
  • Riddhi Puntambekar

Cloning is a very interesting and new concept developed with the huge technological advancements made in the field of science. The cloning of the animals is becoming common. Dolly, a cloned sheep was the first cloned animal. The questions of bioethics come into picture over here as cloning human beings is the next step to be taken in the field of cloning. The cloning of human beings and the question of bioethics is the main focus of the study. To understand the topic and the concept of ethics, first of let’s understand what cloning is and how it is actually done.

In common terms, cloning is asexual reproduction accomplished by introducing the nuclear material of a human somatic cell into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nucleus has been removed or inactivated to produce a living organism( at any stage of development) with a human. In biological terms, Cloning is the creation of an organism that is an exact genetic copy of another. This means that every single bit of DNA is the same between the two.

How is cloning done?
You may have first heard of cloning when Dolly the Sheep showed up on the scene in 1997. Cloning technologies have been around for much longer than Dolly, though.
How does one go about making an exact genetic copy of an organism? There are a couple of ways to do this: artificial embryo twinning and somatic cell nuclear transfer.

1. Artificial Embryo Twinning
Artificial embryo twinning is the relatively low-tech version of cloning. As the name suggests, this technology mimics the natural process of creating identical twins.

In nature, twins occur just after fertilization of an egg cell by a sperm cell. In rare cases, when the resulting fertilized egg, called a zygote, tries to divide into a two-celled embryo, the two cells separate. Each cell continues dividing on its own, ultimately developing into a separate individual within the mother. Since the two cells came from the same zygote, the resulting individuals are genetically identical.

Artificial embryo twinning uses the same approach, but it occurs in a Petri dish instead of in the mother’s body. This is accomplished by manually separating a very early embryo into individual cells, and then allowing each cell to divide and develop on its own. The resulting embryos are placed into a surrogate mother, where they are carried to term and delivered. Again, since all the embryos came from the same zygote, they are genetically identical.

2.Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
Somatic cell nuclear transfer, (SCNT) uses a different approach than artificial embryo twinning, but it produces the same result: an exact clone, or genetic copy, of an individual. This was the method used to create Dolly the Sheep.

There are many ways in which human cloning is expected to benefit mankind. It suggests that it may someday be possible to reverse the aging process because of what we learn from cloning. Human cloning technology could be used to reverse heart attacks. Scientists believe that they may be able to treat heart attack victims by cloning their healthy heart cells and injecting them into the areas of the heart that have been damaged. Human cloning could make it possible for many more infertile couples to have children than ever before possible. In case of Plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, because of human cloning and its technology the days of silicone breast implants and other cosmetic procedures that may cause immune disease should soon be over.

With the new technology, instead of using materials foreign to the body for such procedures, doctors will be able to manufacture bone, fat, connective tissue, or cartilage that matches the patients’ tissues exactly. Anyone will able to have their appearance altered to their satisfaction without the leaking of silicone gel into their bodies or the other problems that occur with present day plastic surgery.

The human cloning has both positive and negative sides but , cloning will pose a threat to the identity of the individuals. The cloning is against the laws of nature. It has many benefits but there is no guarantee that the technology will not be misused by the people. It can be misused in a way that may be really dangerous for human society and moral ethics. Even if cloning proves essential as per the situation or the circumstances, there should be regulations and legitimate authorisation in using this technology. There can be severe consequences of illegitimate cloning. We can’t come to straightforward conclusion determining whether cloning is ethical or unethical in nature. But, we can conclude that every technology has positive aspects and negative aspects; and there should be a proper use of the technology and not misuse.