Cloning (Davika's presentation)

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Up until reading these articles I did not really know much about cloning. I didn't really understand the process of how it works or its purpose. After reading the articles I am able to form my thoughts about cloning more thoroughly. I do like the benefits behind cloning in terms of medical advancements. To have the ability to clone stem cells could cure a lot of diseases. However, there are people out there who will want to abuse the technology and want to create exact clones of human life. I am not really sure why anyone would want to create exact clones of humans besides to prove that they can. If there were exact clones of humans this world would just be crazy and would be abusing human life. It seems kind of weird but whenever I think of cloning I think of that Disney channel movie from the 90s where a boy accidentally cloned himself and used his clone to do the things he didn't want to do. Is this what the world would be like if we cloned actual people? Would people use their clones to do the things they want to avoid or perhaps people would create clones of people they lost in order to have them "return." I just think that personally creating exact clones of people should not even be attempted or considered and I am not saying that scientists are going to necessarily, but people who know nothing about cloning think that is what they are doing and hope that it may happen, but there could just be so many issues with that idea.

-Hannah

The Alice Park article is about a year old. How quickly do advancements in cloning technology occur? Do we yet know how "reliable and robust" the described technique is? Despite the ethical worries some people have about technology that appears to be a stepping stone to human cloning, I see cloning techniques for the generation of stem cells as a solution to the embryonic stem cell controversy. Are there any studies that illustrate the number of lives this technique would probably save? There's no way saved lives don't trump potentially ethically-dubious medical practices.

The Watson article from The Atlantic helped me more fully understand the ethical debate surrounding cloning human beings, I think a logical oppositional argument is to ask "what gives us the right to play god? To artificially bring a life into being?" The answer is nobody, obviously. But nobody gives parents the right to naturally bring a life into being, either. In a very similar way, breeding adults play god about 350,000 times every single day.

I'm wondering if clones will always need a surrogate to carry it to term. Is it possible (ideal?) to bring a clone from cell to embryo to fetus to full-fledged human in a lab completely? Man! And I thought clone status would be sticky before. When the first human is inevitably cloned in a lab—I'm just assuming here that it's inevitable—who will its guardians be? The provider of the cell he or she was cloned from? The scientists who oversaw the project? The lab technicians that actually did the work? The project's funders? Will the clone be granted the same status as other humans? The answer to that is obviously and rightly yes, but there will be people who consider him or her lesser; systemic bigotry remains a huge problem and I don't see it abating any time soon—how would a cloned person fit into that situation, even if they're phenotypically a non-minority?

Pretty much all concerns regarding cloning are super difficult to address, but are they enough to convince us not to clone humans once it becomes technologically possible? I doubt it (they don't convince me). I feel that the thing to do is to think about them now and talk about it, coming to something that resembles consensus before we start cranking out storm troopers. And after that, it would be imperative to include cloned individuals as our social cloning norms evolve.

-Andrew

Human cloning is one of those classic ethical debates where the right answer is never clear. On one hand there are many potential scientific benefits that can come from the perfecting of our cloning techniques, such as the use of stem cells to treat and cure diseases. On the other side of things, there are all sorts of ethical and moral concerns of cloning. Do we have the right to play God and create life in a manner such as cloning? If we start with only cloning farm animals or frogs or something, will we go down a slippery slope and eventually find ourselves cloning literally everything? Do we give up the unique and sacred status of a given human life if we are able to clone it at will? I, for one, don’t think we should clone and create actual human beings. Cloned humans and their hypothetical place in our society is a can of worms all its own. Would they have certain inalienable rights because they are biologically human? Or would they, as creations of scientists, be the property of science and be grown and harvested for their organs or something like that?

-Andrew

The idea of cloning wild animals is one thing, but cloning a man, that’s one step beyond the technology we have today. There was an article that I read about a while back pertaining to a couple cloning their dog, diagnosed with cancer which eventually led to death. However, the operation was successful and the dog has lived a healthy life ever since. Not only that, he was able to express the same behavior as the dead dog, as well as the ability to reproduce. I could dive right into the Jurassic Park franchise and express my fascination with DNA cloning to create prehistoric creatures, but I won’t.

With every step towards advancement, we get closer to harnessing the power to clone the ones we love – in this case, from wild animals to household pets and soon to be members of your family. However, will a human clone express similar behaviors to their previous existence? Will their life be shortened or can we keep cloning them over and over again? I mean, I know that we all want a clone of our own so that one has to do stuff and the other one doesn’t, but let’s be honest, would you want your clone to steal your life (similar to the Adam Gibson fiasco in The 6th Day)?

-Vien

The article by James Watson foreshadowed much of what has come to pass in the way of both the way of technology and legislation surrounding cloning. He suspected that moral and ethical worries could be result in legislation stifling research. This has certainly been true, particularly with the G.W. Bush administration’s banning of stem cell research. There is also near global bans on human reproductive cloning experiments. It’s fascinating to think that at the time the article was written in vitro fertilization was still in its infancy, which I suppose explains why he details how research in that area will be a precursor to cloning research.

The area of cloning I'm most interested in is the potential to resurrect extinct species, such as the woolly mammoth. I’ve read that the majority of the mammoth sequence is known and it is said to be inevitable we have the entire sequence. Some of the obstacles to resurrection will be determining the number of chromosomes, generating those full sequences, and proceeding to decide how to divide that sequence into chromosomes. All very interesting, especially considering the bold claims by some research institutes that have set goals to accomplish this task.

-Daniel

Cloning has long been a very controversial topic, and honestly it’s one that I haven’t given much thought to in the past. I personally don’t believe there’s enough reason to clone human beings, let alone actively pursue it, with all of the ethical questions that arise from it. I am more intrigued at the idea of cloning cells to cure diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s or the like. However, the cloning that interests me the most would be if we had the ability to bring back extinct species someday. The thought of having a wooly mammoth, or other extinct species, roam the earth again due to advances in science is pretty exciting.

-Justin

First off, as a frequent user of CNN News myself, I can appreciate this article. I noticed that this article was written about 11 months ago. Around that time, we were reading and viewing the clone-based science fiction story called Never Let Me Go. When I began reading the article, I was instantly reminded of that. For those who have not seen or read it, the overview of the plot without spoilers consists of a futuristic society in which clones are made of people in the chance that the person may need an organ transplant or any similar life-threatening operation. The clones are raised in a closed part of the world and are being raised for the sole purpose to help the real people. With that being said, there is a parallel between stem cells and the story's content. I will share this quote from the article: "The purpose of the study, however, was not to generate human clones but to produce lines of embryonic stem cells. These can develop into muscle, nerve, or other cells that make up the body's tissues. The process, he says, took only a few months, a surprisingly short period to reach such an important milestone."

Although stem cell research and cloning are seen to some as immoral, I believe that it could have positive benefits on our society. If there are ways stem cells could help repair someone who suffered muscle or tissue damage, then why not utilize the opportunity? My opinion is that if the science is correct and the goal can be attained in order to save a life, that kind of technology should be available as a treatment option to those who need it. I understand there are many moral, ethical, and even legal debates that can be used on this subject and I don't mean to offend anyone with my beliefs. I just feel that if it can be accomplished we should at least try it to add on to the legacy of our advancement as human beings.
-Viktor

After reading the CNN article, one question comes to mind. Am I accurate in saying that a male is not needed at all in this process? The eggs were "manipulated" in order to get them to split where normally they would split by fertilization. So what I take from this is that if one day we are cloning whole humans, the clones would not have a father. They would have a biological mother since the egg was present, but no sperm means no father. This is a pretty crazy concept to grab on to.

This whole idea of cloning also makes me fearful for the already astronomical size of the human population. We already have too many humans on Earth and so I really hope that we do not move into the realm of playing God and actually creating more humans without it happening on its own by real pregnancy and birth. The second article addresses women or families that are unable to have their own children. I guess I am not particularly fond of the idea of cloning humans to come to the rescue for these people. If I were a religious person, I would say that there was probably a reason God did not want them to have a child. But since I am not a religious person, I will say that perhaps natural selection does not want them to have a child.

In the end, I am fairly heartless when it comes to these topics. I know our human population needs to be drastically reduced, so I guess I don't feel too bad knowing that there are some people in the world who simply cannot reproduce and thereby cannot add to the population problem. Now, using embryo cells to cure diseases I guess I am all for. Somewhat contradictory of me I suppose because if I am all for natural selection, then I would be all for not finding a cure for diseases.

Ow, I think I just gave myself a headache!

Erica

I feel as if I don’t know enough about stem cells or cloning to make a truly informed decision on the matter, especially the long-term effects. The process is still so young that it’s hard to tell whether or not the decision is ethical – will the cloned subjects have health problems, will they lead a quality life? What real purpose does cloning a human serve? I understand cloning stem cells, but does this mean that we will grow organisms in the future to act as organ harvesters (if anyone’s seen the movie or read the book Never Let Me Go you will understand why the idea is truly chilling)? What would differentiate a human from a lab rat, then? I have so many questions about where the process could go. I do think that it would be cool to see just how much of our personality is nature vs. nurture, and settle the age-old debate. Overall, I think the idea of cloning a whole human instead of just stem cells will give us negative abilities rather than positive ones.

Neira

Sorry, this is extremely late but I've got a few things to talk about when it comes to cloning. Cloning and the science behind reproducing things and cells is brilliant. That will have many uses in the medical field. Cloning to make a second Abukar without sexual reproduction is not my cup of tea. I really think that this has got to be one of those pieces of technological advancements that the government puts a huge restriction on and monitors heavily. Forget about all the lobbying thats going to take place to create change. If and when they find a way to reproduce and clone people then I think thats my cue to head for the hills.


Abukar

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This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on March 31, 2014 11:29 AM.

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