ENG 120 Sec. 02
March 15, 2002
Cloning, and Stem Cell Research
Technology has advanced a great deal within the past few years. We have learned so much information about animal's genes and what can be done with them. However, with this new information brings new questions and arguments. So far, scientists have successfully cloned a sheep, a monkey, a bull, and are working on an endangered breed of ox, of course cloning animals and conducting research on those animals does not concern many people. When people begin discussing cloning and stem cell research heads turn because it is such a controversial issue. Is it morally right to destroy a life so that maybe someday others could live? According to an article in People Weekly the theory is that embryonic stem cells could replace any damaged or diseased tissue, curing diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and diabetes. Sounds like a winning plan to the uneducated hear. The problem that arises with this theory is that scientists must destroy human embryos to make the cells. Michael West, the chief executive of Advanced Cell Technology a Worcester, Massachusetts based company where a majority of their cells come from embryos left over from In Vitro Fertilization. In Vitro Fertilization, is a process where the sperm from a male and an egg from a female are fertilized outside of the human body in a laboratory. When scientists perform this procedure generally the scientists will extract more than one embryo from the female to ensure that at least one will be fertilized. The rest of the cells are then extra and are not needed. West and other scientists at Advanced Cell Technology have proposed producing stem cells from cloned embryos. This may lead to treatments in which damaged tissue is replaced with what are essentially the patient's own cells. West also explains that unlike other types of cells, embryonic stem cells can probably reproduce forever. "These cells will grow for researchers until the last researcher on the Earth," ads West (Herper). When asked in a CNN.com chat room, "When do scientists consider an embryo a life?" Dr. Jeffrey Kahn the Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota responded with this. "It depends on the scientist, but you would get views ranging from "at conception" to "at birth." Many people consider the stage of embryos we are talking about to be "pre-embryos" since they are so early in their development." Some scientists believe that there are many advantages in allowing human cloning to proceed. Dr. Richard Seed, an advocate for human cloning suggests that some day it may be possible to reverse the aging process from what could be learned through cloning. Scientists also believe that they might be able to help heart attack victims by cloning the person's healthy heart cells and injecting them into the areas of their heart that were damaged from the heart attack. Through cloning, infertile couples could also be able to have children. It is a fact that the average person carries eight defective genes in them. These genes cause people to become sick when they would otherwise be healthy, through human cloning technology it may be possible to guarantee that the average person may no longer suffer from our defective genes. Scientists hope that one-day we may also be able to clone livers and kidneys for transplant patience. One of the first benefits expected from cloning technology is scientists should be able to clone bone marrow for children and adults who suffer from leukemia. Cancer may no longer be a problem if scientist learn how to switch cells on and off through cloning. Cloning could even benefit the fashion world, by providing an alternative to silicone breast implants as well as other cosmetic procedures that may cause immune diseases. Cloning would allow doctors to manufacture bone, fat, connective tissue, or cartilage that is an exact match of the...