Human Cloning: Genetic Advancement or Genetic Manipulation?
Some people might argue that the real offense would be to hinder the progress of science and experimental investigation with regard to human cloning. That to do so would mean to deny the right to scientifically explore and gain from such. Exploration and discovery in advanced technologies and science quite often proves to be beneficial to mankind; however, even though human cloning capabilities may tempt man's inherently diabolical God-playing nature, research, advancement and the expected benefits of human cloning are likely to dispel predicted human catastrophes. In the alternative, can advances in human cloning lead us into genetic manipulation and world chaos because of popular myths about cloning and the rapid progress in biotechnology? First, what exactly is cloning? In biology, cloning is used in two contexts: cloning a gene, or cloning an organism. Cloning is the reproduction of a human or animal whose genetic substance is identical to an existing being, such as an embryo or fetus. This is reproductive. Cloning a gene means to extract a gene from one organism and insert it into a second organism. Cloning an organism means to create a new organism with the same genetic information as an existing one. This is therapeutic. Since 1885, there have been a number of researchers, scientists, geneticists, reproductive technologists and embryologists, such as August Weismann, Hans Spemann, Walter Sutton, Paul Berg, Steen Willadsen, et al., who have contributed much to the research and development of our current concepts of cloning. Particularly two of the more recent renowned contributors to cloning research and experimentation are Ian Wilmut, a Ph. D. in animal genetic engineering, and Richard Seed, who founded Fertility and Genetics in the 1980s. In 1973, for his thesis at Darwin College, Ian Wilmut created the first calf ever produced from a frozen embryo. In 1974, Ian Wilmut joined a research institute known as the Roslin Institute of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Today, he is currently joint head of the Department of Gene Expression and Development, with research interests in early mammalian development, embryo manipulation, nuclear transfer and gene targeting in mice, cattle, sheep and pigs. The Roslin Institute, is known for being one of the world's primary research centers on farm and other animals. In 1996, Professor Wilmut, along with his assistant, Keith Campbell, made history by creating the first organism to be duplicated (cloned) from adult cells. Their creation infamously became known as Dolly, the first cloned adult sheep. Wilmut and Campbell created Dolly using a technique similar to the one that they used in producing the first sheep from differentiated embryo cells in 1995. A cell was taken from the mammary tissue of a mature 6 year old sheep while its DNA was in a dormant state. It was fused with a sheep ovum which had had its nucleus removed. The "fertilized" cell was then stimulated with an electric pulse. Out of 277 attempts at cell fusion, only 29 began to divide. These were all implanted in ewes. Thirteen became pregnant but only one lamb, Dolly, was born. During a February, 1997 New York Times interview, Ian Wilmut says, "the primary purpose of the cloning is to advance the development of drug therapies to combat certain life-threatening human diseases." Wilmut also states, "Our technology permits a change of the organs in animals, so they are less threatening for the human immunology." As a result of this successful experiment of Dr. Ian Wilmut, the prospect of human cloning becomes more likely; however, human cloning inevitably raises moral and ethical issues. Are we attempting to play God? Dr. Lee Silver, a biologist at Princeton University, told the New York Times, in referring to the success of Wilmut's 1996 cloning experiment said, "basically, there are no limits." "It means all of science fiction is true." Dr....
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