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A discussion on the ethical debates surrounding the cloning of organisms based on various articles

She was the first mammal to enter the world following a process of reproductive cloning, making the event a spectacular scientific breakthrough. SCNT is thus a powerful, and often effective, form of animal cloning. This provoked political and ethical debates that have never truly stopped.

  • Several works have been done on genetic engineering with major focus on its importance ranging from increasing plant and animal food production, diagnosing disease condition, medical treatment improvement, as well as production of vaccines and other useful drugs;
  • On one version of the approach, this would, in turn, set us upon a path to unequivocally horrible social outcomes;
  • The expressions of fear, disgust, and moral outrage appeared immediately; in response, highly illiberal laws were enacted without due consideration of the issues;
  • Animal rights Genetic engineering and selective breeding appear to violate animal rights, because they involve manipulating animals for human ends as if the animals were nothing more than human property, rather than treating the animals as being of value in themselves;
  • Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to pin down precisely what any of these claims really mean in the context of bioethical debate;
  • Sometimes the critics speak in terms of the autonomy of the child being violated, diminished or denied, although it can be very difficult to spell out exactly what this amounts to.

Public discussion of cloning gradually receded in prominence as new issues arose to dominate the airwaves and the headlines, notably the threat of jihadist terrorism following the attacks on September 11, But issues relating to cloning technology remain crucial to debates over biomedical research and its regulation.

The announcement — with a description of the method used to bring Dolly into existence — triggered a feverish worldwide response because of the possible implications for human cloning. It was immediately obvious that SCNT could, in principle, be used to create human babies. Across the world, many countries banned human cloning - often with significant punishments, such as lengthy jail terms, even for attempting such a thing.

The case against cloning The actual arguments against human cloning are extremely varied, and I cannot elaborate them all here. I go into more of them, and in far more depth, in my book, Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to pin down precisely what any of these claims really mean in the context of bioethical debate.

Some critics fear that children created via SCNT would be subjected to unfair expectations of duplicating the talents and achievements of whoever provided their nuclear DNA.

Sometimes the critics speak in terms of the autonomy of the child being violated, diminished or denied, although it can be very difficult to spell out exactly what this amounts to. Some critics worry about a larger social effect, or even an effect on our species, if cloning restricted the diversity of children being born perhaps because parents and doctors might look for donors with a narrow range of characteristics, such as possessing high intelligence and meeting certain standards of physical beauty.

On one version of the approach, this would, in turn, set us upon a path to unequivocally horrible social outcomes. Thus cloning supposedly confronts us with a slippery slope to another slippery slope … which seems like a tenuous style of argument. Though some of these fears may have an element of truth, they are all exaggerated. To some extent, however, all of this is moot.

Over the past twenty years, we have enjoyed success in cloning many mammalian species, but no one has cloned a human being.

  1. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to pin down precisely what any of these claims really mean in the context of bioethical debate.
  2. This provoked political and ethical debates that have never truly stopped. Several works have been done on genetic engineering with major focus on its importance ranging from increasing plant and animal food production, diagnosing disease condition, medical treatment improvement, as well as production of vaccines and other useful drugs.
  3. Even if we did conceive a human embryo through SCNT, and we then managed to bring it to term, the odds are very high that the result would be a seriously deformed child.
  4. There is a strong sense, within the field of secular bioethics, that the early arguments against human reproductive and therapeutic cloning were flawed. The key ethical issue with therapeutic cloning is the moral status of the cloned embryo, which is created solely for destruction.

Indeed, we have been frustrated in efforts to clone other primates such as apes and monkeys. Even if we did conceive a human embryo through SCNT, and we then managed to bring it to term, the odds are very high that the result would be a seriously deformed child.

Human, Social, and Environmental Impacts of Human Genetic Engineering

Nor is it what SCNT research is really about from the point of view of reputable medical researchers. Allow me to explain.

Biotechnology

Although some ethical issues are raised with therapeutic cloning — including a concern that the associated research destroys human embryos — the idea has been obtaining legal acceptance in some countries, usually subject to tight government regulation. If we start to see impressive results from therapeutic cloning, with new therapies emerging from the research, I expect that it will eventually obtain the same wide acceptance that IVF — in vitro fertilization — now enjoys in Western countries.

However, the early debate was very one-sided. The initial response to the dramatic Nature article by Wilmut et al. Since then, the fear-mongering has partly died down, but not before a great deal of draconian legislation was enacted across the world.

Little chance was given for calmer voices - or any dissenting voices - to be heard before governments took action. As it seems to me, calmer voices eventually won the academic debate.

There is a strong sense, within the field of secular bioethics, that the early arguments against human reproductive and therapeutic cloning were flawed. However, dissenters lost the political debate almost before it began. Politicians, journalists, many academics, and the general public in our Western liberal democracies greeted the very idea of human cloning with a cascade of hostility.

The expressions of fear, disgust, and moral outrage appeared immediately; in response, highly illiberal laws were enacted without due consideration of the issues.

But more reasonable people are slowly winning back the central political ground, gradually making the public case that technologies based on SCNT may bring many benefits. That, perhaps, will be the story of the next twenty years.

  • I go into more of them, and in far more depth, in my book, Humanity Enhanced;
  • Little chance was given for calmer voices - or any dissenting voices - to be heard before governments took action;
  • On one version of the approach, this would, in turn, set us upon a path to unequivocally horrible social outcomes;
  • But more reasonable people are slowly winning back the central political ground, gradually making the public case that technologies based on SCNT may bring many benefits;
  • Patra S, Andrew AA.