Will Cloning have a Positive OR Negative Effect on The definition of a clone is an organism that has the same genetic information as another organism or organisms. Scientific and ethical studies of cloning, prove that,
cloning will have a negative rather than a positive effect on society.
The goals and purposes for cloning range from making copies of those who have
died, to bettering the engineering of offspring in humans and animals (Hawley, 1998).
Cloning could also directly offer a means of curing diseases or could offer a technique that
could extend means to acquiring new data for the sciences of embryology and how
organisms develop as a whole over time.
Currently, the agricultural industry demands nuclear transfer to produce better
livestock, and cloning could massively improve the agricultural industry as the technique
of nuclear transfer improves (Hawley, 1998). Nuclear transfer takes the nucleus of a cell
from one individual and places it in the egg or another individual, from which the nucleus
has been removed (Wertz, 1998b). The change in phenotype, the observable physical and
biochemical characteristics of an organism, of livestock is accomplished by bombarding
embryos of livestock with genes that produce “super” livestock traits; however, this
technique is not efficient because only five percent of the offspring express these “super”
traits that would guarntee a more productive industry. Scientists can easily genetically
alter adult cells; therefore, cloning from an adult cell would make it easier to alter the
genetic material. The goal of transgenic livestock1 is to produce livestock with ideal
characteristics for the agricultural industry and to be able to manufacture biological
products such as proteins for humans.
Farmers are attempting to produce transgenic livestock already, but not efficiently,
due to the minimal ability to alter embryos genetically. Researchers can harvest and grow
adult cells in large amounts unlike embryos; scientists can then genetically alter the adult
cells, find which ones transformed, and clone only those cells. Scientists also ponder the
idea of cloning endangered species to increase their population.
The possibilities of cloning are endless, however as suggested by (Hawley, 1998) we are
actually doing much of this research for the improvement of life for humans.
Cloning provides better research capabilities for finding cures to many diseases.
Livestock can produce biological proteins that help people who have diseases including
Diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Cystic Fibrosis. There are also possibilities that nuclear
transfer could provide benefits to those who would like to have children. For example,
couples who are infertile, or have genetic disorders, could use cloning to produce a child.
Equally important, women who are single could have a child using cloning instead of
in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination. Nuclear transfer could also provide children
who need organ transplants to have a clone born to donate organs (Hawley, 1998). With
all the exceptional possibilities that could improve life, the question still remains, is
cloning virtuous for our society?
Cloning does offer some negative effects to our society. A major problem with the
use of cloning on a large scale is that due to cloning there would be a decline in gene pool,
therefore, causing a decline in genetic diversity. A decline in genetic diversity means that
there are too many genes in a specific species that are the same (Anees, 1995). What
would happen if we lost the ability to clone? We would have to resort to natural
reproduction, causing humans or animals to inbreed, which would result in many other
problems. Inbreeding is conception by relatives such as brother, cousins, etc; causing
DNA abnormalities. If a population of organisms has the same genetic information, then
one disease could wipe out the entire population because no organism would be immune
to the disease. Cloning endangered species will not help the problem of them being
endangered. Zoologists and environmentalists trying to save endangered species are not
having trouble keeping population numbers up. The problem is not having any animals to
breed that are not related in some way. And cloning relatives would only cause the
problem to increase (Hawley, 1998).
The technique of nuclear transfer is in early development stages, therefore, errors
are occurring when scientists carry our the procedure. It took 277 tries to produce
“Dolly”, the sheep cloned in Roslin, Scotland by Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell at the
Roslin Institute (Wertz, 1998a). Roslyn Institute Scientists produced many lambs with
abnormalities before “Dolly” was born. If we tried to clone endangered species, we would
possibly kill the last females integral to the survival of a species. This may be the main
reason science is holding out on human cloning.
Other arguments for cloning include the fact that scientist are taking nature into
their own hands by cloning animals and people. People question when humans will draw
the line for getting involved in natural events. Different religious organizations agree that
cloning is an intrusion to the human body, it is dehumanizing, it deprives a person from
uniqueness, and it disturbs the genetic ecosystem, a community together with its
environment, functioning as a unit (Anees, 1995). Numerous science ethicist say that
cloning does not respect the fact that humans have souls, and that their rights will be
defied because clones are not granted the birth of newness. People also wonder what
mental and emotional problems would result if a clone was to find out that he or she was a
clone (Hawley, 1998).
At this point, cloning should not used in any shape or fashion. Based on the
preceding facts, it is obvious that cloning needs to be perfected before it is used by any
organization or group of people as an everyday way of life. However, if humans are to
venture into cloning all possible precautions must take place. The last thing the world
needs is to move too fast with out proper preparation, and knowledge of cloning and its
effects in entirety. Ultimately, because knowledge is still too limited, cloning will have
more of a negative than positive effect on our society.
Transgenic1: genes transferred from another species or breed
Anees, M.A. (1995, March). Human cloning: an atlantean odyssey?. Eubios Journal of
Asian and International Bioethics. 1 November 1999.
Hawley, A. (1998, March 2). Cloning. 26 September 1999.
Wertz, D.C. (1998a, August). History of cloning. The Gene Letter. 26 September 1999.
Wertz, D.C. (1998b, August). Types of cloning. The Gene Letter. 26 September 1999.