Starting with an explanation of what cloning is and the two main types of the technology: reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning, this paper goes on to explore the ramifications these technologies may have in different areas of our society with respect to government, funding issues for research, religious views, education for our children on cloning issues and lastly the publics response to cloned animal produce. Sociological Impacts of Cloning
Cloning is the production of one or more individual plants or animals (whole or in-part) that are genetically identical to an original plant or animal. There are two main classifications in processes of cloning: reproductive and therapeutic. Reproductive cloning is the use of cloning technology to create a person. Therapeutic cloning is the transportation of a person’s DNA into an unfertilized egg in order to grow stem cells in attempts to cure devastating diseases. (Therapeutic Cloning –How It’s Done, 2008, p.1; Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR), 2008, p.1) Discussion of Reproductive and Therapeutic Cloning
The concept of reproductive cloning has many opponents. Opposition comes from governments, religious organizations, citizen advocacy groups and many private individuals. Almost everyone has an opinion regarding cloning. Entire nations have banned reproductive cloning because of the potential for widespread abuse by unscrupulous parties. Many people feel that cloned individuals could be at risk for abuse even through forced servitude. Conceivably, this could even take the form of cloned individuals being trained as ruthless killing machines. Another aspect of reproductive cloning that is equally frightening to some may be the genetic alteration of babies that could cause an imbalance in the natural process. Cloning and all of its research are widely controversial. Many, if not all, social systems are affected. Controversy even surrounds determining what is and what is not legal, including funding issues, research and development (R & D), and the use of public funds. (Vaknin, 2005, p.3; CAMR, 2008, p.1) Even in the Congress and Senate of the United States there are many conflicts in passing legislation to initiate and/or continue funding for research of therapeutic cloning. Some of these conflicts may be a result of the stigma attached to the term “cloning.” Most people view cloning as solely reproductive cloning, and are not educated on the other aspect of cloning that is therapeutic cloning, thus stymieing the efforts beneficial to the further development of therapeutic cloning. Once again, we must educate the unaware that, unlike reproductive cloning, therapeutic cloning is not designed to create people but is designed to cure disabling or deadly maladies. (CAMR, 2008, p. 1; Reilly’s article “Statement on Human Cloning” as cited in Reproductive and Therapeutic Cloning, 2008, p. 1) Discussion of Funding for Research and Experimental Cloning
Most people are somewhat aware of the tremendous, and constantly rising, costs of research for any type of experimental medical technology. Finding funding resources for even most acceptable type of medical technology is normally difficult; funding resources for more controversial technology, such as cloning, exceeds even that level of difficulty. In the past, many pharmaceutical companies accepted the challenges of the more controversial, therefore more risky, ventures. This type of risk venturing has resulted in many thousands of medicines, cures and treatments over the decades. Some results also include helping to hold down the cost of health-care and increasing worker productivity by employees staying healthier for longer periods of time, thereby directly affecting the economy of society in general. (Innovation.org, 2008, p.1) In the future, pharmaceutical companies may be willing to help fund and offset the costs of acceptable types of cloning research and technology. With this in mind,...
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