Dangers of Cloning Life Is Precious Thesis

Pages: 8 (2445 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Genetics

¶ … Dangers of Cloning

Life is precious. This is what proponents of human cloning fail to accept. While cloning holds promise in theory, the idea fails in practice -- almost every single time it is attempted. While many see the experiment as a great challenge, they overlook the implications that cloning will have on society and the cloned individual. The dangers associated with human cloning are linked to the high failure rate among cloning experiments, the moral issue associated with the act of creating another human through means which are not natural, and the high probability that the cloned individual would probably suffer some sort of abnormality. If we are to glean any knowledge from previous cloning experiments with animals, we know that cloning a human will probably never be a risk-free process and is better left alone. Cloning is more dangerous than it is anything else because it is too risky to ensure that no one will be hurt as the result of it. As we yearn to grow, we must always remember that we must be responsible.

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Critics across the globe agree that the benefits of cloning do not outweigh the risks and there is little chance that they ever will. John Woodward notes, "Although mammals have been cloned successfully, the process is still mysterious and riddled with problems" (Woodward). This is a fact that those in favor of cloning cannot debate or deny. Proponent Aaron Levine admits that there is an "almost universal consensus among mainstream scientists that cloning humans for reproductive reasons is too dangerous to attempt at the current time" (Levine 121). Dangers lurk around every corner, despite the notion that cloning is moving ahead at lightening speed. The fact is that little progress has been made in the arena of human cloning in the past several years indicates that the process is simply too complicated to duplicate at this time.

Thesis on Dangers of Cloning Life Is Precious. This Assignment

While science would like to believe that they have almost conquered the mysterious process of creating life, they have not. Woodward maintains, "Researchers are only beginning to get a sense of the range of things that can go awry in cloning. Certainly, something unusual is happening in the process by which the egg cell sends out signals to reprogram its new nucleus and put the developmental genes back into action. There appears, in particular, to be a problem with a phenomenon known as genetic imprinting. . Unfortunately, they have little idea why this is the case. Nor do they know the full set of genes that go awry, which makes foolproof screening of faulty embryos impossible. Without such safeguards in place, there is no reason to assume that human cloning will not repeat the messy trial and error of current animal research. Not surprisingly, those who know reproductive cloning best are urging others to refrain from trying it on people until the bugs have been worked out on hundreds more animals" (Woodward). Perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence that supports this notion is the incredible failure rate.

The failure rate for cloned animals is astonishing. The current information we have regarding the failure rate is the same as it was around the time of Dolly, the first cloned sheep. This success rate is one fertilized egg for every 100 attempts. The University of Utah's Genetic Science Learning Center realizes the dangers of such a low success rate. They claim that the many attempts made before success is "a lot of effort with only a speck of a return" (Utah). Reasons for such a high failure rate include the enucleated egg and the transferred nucleus were not "compatible" (Utah), the newly fertilized egg may not develop properly, the implantation into the surrogate mother might fail, and the pregnancy itself might fail. The university also notes that cloned animals that are born are considerably "bigger at birth than their natural counterparts" (Utah) and have "abnormally large organs" (Utah). Since this does not occur with every successful clone, it is impossible for scientist to predict when or if it will happen. Wesley Smith asserts, "If it takes 100 or more tries to make a single human cloned embryonic stem cell line, therapeutic cloning is all but doomed as a viable future medical treatment" (Smith). This is especially true if stem cells were needed quickly, to save a life. Regardless, Smith maintains that the rate of failure is too high for cloning to even be considered. He cites the research of Peter Mombaerts from Rockefeller University, whose work with cloning mice has been "tough going" (Smith). He quotes Mombaerts as claiming "The efficiency, or perhaps better, the lack of efficiency thereof, is remarkably consistent" (Mombaerts quoted in Smith). Smith claims that this is because it takes about 100 tries to obtain "one viable" cloned mouse and this is a number that has not changed over the past decade of cloning research.

In addition, Smith maintains that the failure rate is basically a "matter of resources" (Smith). There are more than 100 million Americans . . . who might one day benefit from therapeutic cloning if all the high hopes for it panned out" (Smith). From his estimation, there would need to be one egg for each of these Americans and approximately "100 tries per patient for a cloned embryonic stem cell line to be successfully created" (Smith). The numbers alone are astronomical and, in Smith's opinion, impossible. He states, "100 million patients at 100 eggs each would mean that biotechnologists would need access to at least 10 billion eggs just to treat the Americans the NAS has identified as having degenerative conditions that might respond positively to stem cell therapy" (Smith). The numbers are "mind-boggling" (Smith) in Smith's estimation and simply impossible to achieve when we realistically look at the number of women who could contribute eggs.

Woodward claims that we only need to look at the experiments that have been conducted with animals to see the dangers involved with human cloning. He points to researchers that have been active in the field, noting, "Veterans, such as Alan Trounson at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, have succeeded in cloning several species of mammal. But they are appalled at the prospect of trying the technique in humans when its problems have yet to be worked out in experimental animals" (Woodward). He goes on to say:

Dr Trounson . . . is certain that human cloning can and will be done. Some of his colleagues . . . look forward to that day. What worries them is not the end, a cloned baby. Rather, they have serious doubts about the means, which will involve stillbirths and sudden deaths for as long as cloning remains a mysterious process. (Woodward)

We should pay attention when those that have been working with cloning for years express serious concerns about the issue. These people are not onlookers with limited experience and scope; they are educated scientists that have contributed to the science of cloning. If they are under the impression that dangers exist, we should listen to them.

Beyond the issue of the incredible failure rate and the dangers that poses to those involved in the cloning process, there is still more about which we should be concerned. Woodward explains, "Attempts to clone humans would certainly involve stillbirths and sudden deaths" (Woodward). He cites that evidence for this assertion exists in the process of animal cloning, claiming, "Fetuses that are aborted are frequently abnormally large or have other deformities. Moreover, half the seemingly normal cloned cows and sheep die within three weeks. Many problems and uncertainties still plague cloning efforts, which calls into question the morality of cloning humans" (Woodward). The morality of cloning brings up other significant issues that must be considered.

Leon Kass lists many reason why cloning is dangerous from a moral standpoint. He maintains that one thing we should consider when we talk about cloning is the cloned individual and his or her "genetic and social identity; it would threaten his sense of individuality. It represents a giant step toward turning procreation into manufacture" (Kass). Kass also claims that human cloning is a "despotic attempt of parents to select and control the genetic make-up of their children" (Kass). In addition, Kass asserts that children would cease being viewed as children and would eventually become "objects of manipulation and products of will" (Kass). Considering the cloned children is a valid point because the human psyche is often delicate and cloned individuals might suffer from the knowledge of being cloned rather than being born from a natural set of circumstances.

Levine admits that there are serious considerations against cloning. The risks involved for the fetus are quite numerous and still very possible. He also states there are some that believe that these risks will always be present as the extent of advances in "animal cloning will reduce these safety concerns remains an open question" (Levine 126). In addition, President's Bush's Council on Bioethics concluded that "because human reproductive cloning is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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