Nathan Schwartz's Paper

Nathan Schwartz
Human cloning is an issue that many people have heard about. What people may or may not be familiar with however is that there are two sides of the issue: therapeutic and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic is the cloning of organs and tissues, while reproductive is the cloning of an entire human being. There are people who argue for and against both types of cloning. The technology may already be here, or it may be science of the future. It may never even be possible at all to clone a human being, or human organs, successfully. There are advantages to be derived therapeutic cloning, but human cloning is something that should be left to the movies.
Therapeutic cloning involves the “derivation of embryonic stem (ES) cell lines from an already born organism.” (Peter Mombaerts) This process is so named because of the potential applications to produce cells that could be changed into whatever types are needed and then be implanted into the patient for therapeutic purposes. Some scientists are hopeful that this form of cloning can be used in organ and/or tissue replacement. One potential application: during early childhood, possibly shortly after birth, a person could have some nt (nuclear transfer) ES cell lines derived. Later in life if the person should develop a disease that could be treated with cell replacement or his/her body is wearing out due to cell loss, those personal ntES cell lines could be retrieved and differentiated into the needed cell type.
The science behind reproductive cloning is a difficult process. It uses “somatic cell nuclear transfer” to create an organism genetically identical to the donor organism. The process involves transferring the nucleus of a donor adult cell to an egg cell that does not have a nucleus. If and when the egg begins to divide normally, it is then transferred to the uterus of a surrogate mother. The idea of cloning mammals was introduced in 1986. The concept gained attention in 1997 after the birth of Dolly the sheep. Presently there have been seven different species of mammals that have been successfully cloned, with the exception of primates.
The question of whether a human being can (or should) be cloned has been surrounded by arguments about the ethics and morality of such a procedure. I believe that it would detract from the individuality of the person being cloned, since it would mean that there is another person genetically identical to him/her walking around. I also believe that cloning would diminish the worth of people because humans could then be viewed as being able to be manufactured. It is believed, however, that in the event of a worldwide pandemic, human reproductive cloning could be used as a last-ditch strategy to help prevent human extinction.
Some believe that because the technology exists, it is only a matter of time before someone clones a human being. Although no one has officially cloned a human being to date, there are people who claim to have met cloned individuals. “As long as there is demand for the product and the possibility exists for success in this technology, it will be explored.” (Geeta Chougule) There are concerns, however, about the “imperfections in the technology of cloning humans.” (R. Jaenisch, I. Wilmut). These imperfections could result in a failed attempt at cloning such as mental or physical deformities not present in the individual being cloned.
Human cloning has been a very controversial issue, and will most likely continue to be such for many years. There may not yet be any potential applications for reproductive cloning to warrant further research. The safety and effectiveness of the process, not to mention the legality, is uncertain. There could be medical benefits to therapeutic cloning, however, such as curing dangerous diseases or even re-vitalizing the elderly. That in itself could be worth the time and research.

Works Cited
Kolberg, Rebecca (1993, October) Human Embryo Cloning Reported
Science, vol. 262, no. 5134, p.652

Brock, Dan W. (2002, April) Human Cloning and Our Sense of Self
Science, vol. 296, no. 5566, p.314-316

Chougule, Geeta (2001, April) Human Cloning – Not If, but When
Science’s Compass, vol. 292, p.639

Nance, Walter E., Fletcher, John C. (2002, August) Human Reproductive Cloning
Science’s Compass, vol. 297, p.1477

Mombaerts, Peter. (2003, September) Therapeutic cloning in the mouse
Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, p.11924

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