The Benefits and Ethics of Human Cloning

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The Benefits and Ethics of Human Cloning


On February 24, 1997, the whole world was shocked by the news that Scottish scientists had successfully cloned a sheep. Dolly an artificially cloned mammal was born a star. After the shock, that cloning was not only a possibility but a reality, wore off the out cry against human cloning began. Physicians, scientists, politicians and church leaders and many more have been trying to ban the cloning of humans ever since. Is cloning something to be afraid of? I do not believe it is. I believe that cloning will become a tool of science that will, in time, bring many benefits to humankind.

What is Cloning?

The Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia describes a clone as "an organism by an asexual (nonsexual) reproductive process"(clone 1). This definition means that we already have many clones on the earth today. The Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia also states that "the organisms known as prokaryotes (the bacteria and cyanobacteria), a number of other simple organisms, such as most protozoan, many other algae, and some yeast’s, also reproduce primarily by cloning, as do certain higher organisms like the dandelion or aspen tree"(clone 1). The Biology Textbook Concepts and Connections describes a clone as "a single organism that is genetically identical to another"(G-5). With this definition we can come to the conclusion that identical twins are also clones. Cloning then is not a new idea but one that has been around since the beginning of time.

How it is Done

Embryo Splitting or Blastomere Separation

Embryo splitting as Gregory Pence, a medical ethicist, writes is when "an embryo that has already been formed by sexual reproduction is split into two identical halves"(Flesh...

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... not just ourselves but the whole world.


Pence, Gregory E., Flesh of my Flesh: the Ethics of Cloning Humans.

Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers

Inc., 1998.

---. Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning. Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford:

Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc., 1998.

Campbell, Neil A., Lawrence G. Mitchell and Jane B. Reece, Biology:

Concepts and Connections, Third Edition. Addison Wesley Longman,

Inc., 1999.

---. Kimball’s Biology Essays: Can Humans Be Cloned. The Biology Place.

Online. 1999.

Encarta Encyclopedia

United States. National Bioethics Advisory Committee. Cloning Human

Beings volume 1: Report and Recommendations.