The benefits of human cloning
There are many ways in which in which human cloning is expected to benefit mankind. Below is a list of ways that it is expected to help people. This list is far from complete.
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. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and several other industrialized countries.
There has been a breakthrough with human stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can be grown to produce organs or tissues to repair or replace damaged ones. Skin for burn victims, brain cells for the brain damaged, spinal cord cells for quadriplegics and paraplegics, hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys could be produced. By combining this technology with human cloning technology it may be possible to produce needed tissue for suffering people that will be free of rejection by their immune systems. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart failure, degenerative joint disease, and other problems may be made curable if human cloning and its technology are not banned.
Infertility – With cloning, infertile couples could have children. Despite getting a fair amount of publicity in the news current treatments for infertility, in terms of percentages, are not very successful. One estimate is that current infertility treatments are less than 10 percent successful. Couples go through physically and emotionally painful procedures for a small chance of having children. Many couples run out of time and money without successfully having children. Human cloning could make it possible for many more infertile couples to have children than ever before possible.
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. Victims of terrible accidents that deform the face should now be able to have their features repaired with new, safer, technology. Limbs for amputees may be able to be regenerated.
Breast implants – Most people are aware of the breast implant fiasco in which hundreds of thousands of women received silicone breast implants for cosmetic reasons. Many came to believe that the implants were making them ill with diseases of their immune systems. With human cloning and its technology breast augmentation and other forms of cosmetic surgery could be done with implants that would not be any different from the person’s normal tissues.
Defective genes – The average person carries 8 defective genes inside them. These defective genes allow people to become sick when they would otherwise remain healthy. With human cloning and its technology it may be possible to ensure that we no longer suffer because of our defective genes.
Down’s syndrome – those women at high risk for Down’s syndrome can avoid that risk by cloning
Tay-Sachs disease – sex linked genetic disorders could be prevented by using cloning to ensure the sex of a baby and possibly could be cured
liver failure – we may be able to clone livers for liver transplants
kidney failure – we may be able to clone kidneys for kidney transplants
leukemia – we should be able to clone the bone marrow for children and adults suffering from leukemia. This is expected to be one of the first benefits to come from cloning technology.
cancer – we may learn how to switch cells on and off through cloning and thus be able to cure cancer. Scientists still do not know exactly how cells differentiate into specific kinds of tissue, nor to they understand why cancerous cells lose their differentiation. Cloning, at long last, may be the key to understanding differentiation and cancer.
cystic fibrosis – we may be able to produce effective genetic therapy against cystic fibrosis. Ian Wilmut and colleagues are already working on this problem.
spinal cord injury – we may learn to grow nerves or the spinal cord back again when they are injured. Quadriplegics might be able to get out of their wheelchairs and walk again. Christopher Reeves, the man who played Superman, might be able to walk again.
testing for genetic disease – cloning technology can be used to test for and perhaps cure genetic diseases
The above list only scratches the surface of what human cloning technology can do for mankind. The suffering that can be relieved is staggering. This new technology heralds a new era of unparalleled advancement in medicine if people will release their fears and let the benefits begin. Why should another child die from leukemia when if the technology is allowed we should be able to cure it in a few years time?
From e-mail to the Human Cloning Foundation it is clear that many people would support human cloning in the following situations:
People often say in jest that two individuals are made from the same mold. With the recent scientific breakthroughs and the anticipated discoveries yet to come, this fictional clich is becoming more plausible. Cloning first caught the publics attention when Dr. Ian Wilmut announced the birth of Dolly, the first cloned mammal. This historic achievement and new technology sent congress into action to ensure that human cloning would not be the next breakthrough. Unfortunately, the impetuously drafted bill went far beyond banning human cloning, but it also banned the use of federal money for experimentation using human cells (Off Limits 1). This ban holds strict limitations over scientists that want to experiment with this incredible technology for therapeutic, infertility, and other applications. The rash decisions made by congress were made in fear and ignorance. Therefore, the current ban on cloning should be reviewed and adjusted accordingly to allow for further experimentation that could benefit all mankind.
Cloning offers a promising future in medical treatments. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Scientists predict that in the near future they will be able to clone healthy heart cells and inject them into damaged areas (Benefits 1). Technology like this is obviously in great need but is harder and harder with the current bans on cloning. Yet another discovery that scientists and doctors are anticipating is the cloning of cells and tissues. If doctors can take healthy cells and tissue from a patients body and use them to make organs, the chance that the body would reject the organ is drastically reduced, if not eliminated (Stencel 414). This would undoubtedly increase the survival rate of patients undergoing organ transplants. With continued research in cloning procedures, scientists predict they will be able to find a cure for cancer by learning how to switch cells on and off (Benefits 2). An increasing amount of people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and a cure for this dreadful disease is long past due. But, cures for these diseases are nearly impossible with the governments ban and the absence of federal funding. With all that scientists know about cloning and all the advances scientists foresee, no one should undermine the infinite number of advantages that cloning holds in the future of the medical world.
The cloning of animals can be very beneficial to the world. This type of cloning had been widely experimented with prior to the cloning ban. Today, experimentation continues in other countries. The main reason that scientists want to clone animals is they want to find an animal with phenomenal traits, and clone that animal. For example, if scientists find a cow that produces large amounts of high quality meat, they could clone it so that there would be numerous cows that produce large amounts of high quality meat. Randell Prather, an associate professor of animal sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia said, We have an ever growing world population, so if we can improve our agricultural production, we can make feeding those people that much easier (Stencel 418). Randell Prather makes a convincing point in his statement. The worlds populations is, in fact, growing and this provides a practical solution to the problem. But, many argue that animal cloning does not have a high enough success rate to be used widely yet. After all, Dolly was the only successful clone of two hundred ninety-nine. Although, Japanese scientists successfully cloned eight of ten calves in a recent experiment (Japanese). This proves that the success rate has indisputably increased since the time when Dolly was created. Scientists have already perfected cloning in frogs, mice, sheep, and most recently monkeys (Travis 214). This demonstrates how with experimentation and persistence it is possible to increase the success rate substantially until it can one day be used as standard procedure. This area of cloning should be thoroughly experimented with to ensure the highest success rates possible.
Lastly, human cloning offers many potential benefits to society. The first use that human cloning can be used for, and perhaps the most practical is infertility. Would it be morally wrong to clone a mother to create a baby? Perhaps it is the mothers choice and not societys. Current procedures for infertility treatment are less than ten percent successful (Benefits 1). These low percentages are discouraging to the many people struggling through the heartache of infertility. Many people oppose the idea of using cloning to solve infertility problems. On the contrary, doctors, scientists, and infertile couples think it is a logical solution that should not automatically be ruled out. Each human clone must be carried in a womb for nine months just like any other child; and once born, it would have full human rights (Case for Cloning 6). This discredits any falsehoods commonly believed by people uneducated in this topic. Would the child be identical to its mother? Yes, but she would look at the age of sixteen how her mother looked at the age of sixteen and so on and so forth. In essence, the clone would be a time-delayed identical twin. Identical twins only have a seventy percent correlation of intelligence and a fifty percent correlation of personality traits (Case for Cloning 5). The same holds true for clones. This means a clone of Adolf Hitler would not necessarily be a tyrant, and likewise, a clone of Michael Jordan would not necessarily be a basketball star. U.S. Senator Tom Harkin said it best when he said, Cloning will continue, the human mind will continue to inquire into it. Human cloning will happen and it will happen in my lifetime, and I dont fear it at all. I want to be on the side of the Galileos and those who say the human mind has no limits, rather than trying to stop something thats going to happen anyway (Citat 1). Someone is going to do it, legal or illegal. But it seems only logical to do it under strict government supervision with the best trained professionals rather than letting some maniacal scientist do it and let his clone run lose. Human cloning should not be prohibited simple because it does not insure immediate benefits, but it should be experimented with for potential future use.
For medical, animal, and human cloning to be used in their fullest positive potential, the ban must be lifted and laws must be revised. The laws need to permit the experimentation of cloning to an extent but yet prohibit the cloning of humans to anyone until a faultless procedure has been established by the government. As the knowledge and technology in cloning increase, the laws should change accordingly. In conclusion, Congress should put their qualms aside and focus on the positive aspects of cloning.
Citat Om Kloning. http://www.nada.ktn.se/asa/kloning/citat.html (4 January 1999).
Japanese Clone Cow. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/dailynews/cowclones92108.html (20 December 1998).
Should Human Cloning Research Be Off Limits? http://nejm.org/content/1998/0338/0013/0903.asp (4 January 1999).
Stencel, Sandra. The Cloning Controversy. The CQ Researcher. 9 May 1998: 409-432.
The Benefits of Human Cloning. http://www.humancloning.org/benefits.htm (4 January 1999).
The Case for Cloning Humans. http://www.best.com/verc/cloning.htm (4 January 1999).
Travis, John. A Fantastical Experiment. Science News. 5 Apr. 1997: 214-215