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The Science and the Laws Impacting Human Cloning Essay

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The Science and the Laws Impacting Human Cloning


Human cloning, long the subject of science fiction, is today a practical reality. Recent breakthroughs, most renowned the cloning of a sheep from an adult cell in Scotland in 1997, have caused the world to acknowledge that human cloning is indeed possible. Governments around the world immediately attempted to address the issue of human cloning, with varying levels of success. At the same time the pace of cloning technology continued to accelerate.

This paper will first examine the development of the technology that makes human cloning possible and the scientific uncertainties surrounding it. While this paper does not intend to take a stand on either side of the human cloning issue, a brief discussion of the human cloning controversy will be presented to help frame the legal debate. United States and international law then will be presented and analyzed. This paper argues that while there is a general consensus domestically and abroad that human cloning should be prohibited, the current legal paradigm is insufficient and unsuited to stop the proliferation of cloning technology and effectively prevent the occurance of human cloning. Finally, an this paper will examine the actors who may have an interest in cloning humans, and argue that a human being will likely be cloned in our time.

The Science

Cloning is a rather ambiguous term, and may refer to molecular cloning, cellular cloning, embryo twinning, and nuclear somatic transfer1. It is nuclear somatic transfer that is the concern of this paper and relevant to the subject of human cloning. Any competent discussion of the science that may make human cloning possible begins with the c...


... middle of paper ...


...st horrifying visions of a future world of clones produced in human factories will prove unfounded, being dismissed by existing child abuse laws. The end product of somatic human cell nuclear transfer is nothing more than a baby, one that despite its genetic make-up, will have to chart its own path through life.


1 Gregory E. Pence. Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning? Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. New York: 1998, p. 11

2 National Bioethics Association Commission (NBAC) Cloning Human Beings- Report and Recommendations. vol. II, p. B6

3 Heagle, 4

4 Marie A. DiBerardino & Robert G. McKinnell, Backward Compatible, The Sciences, Sept./Oct. 97, p. 32

5 Heagle, 5

6 Susan Greenlee. Dolly’s Legacy to Human Cloning: International Legal Responses and Potential Human Rights Violations. 18 Wisconsin University Law Journal 537. Spring 2000, Lexis-Nexis Version p. 5



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