Cloning and the ability to manipulate and modify DNA has increased immensely in recent years. The field of genetic reproduction is creating a variety of unknown social and ethical consequences that are particular to our present time. Such consequences, although unknown now, of the manipulation of nature at such a primary biological level will have disastrous effects on the generations of the future. Cloning as a new science, concerns itself with the replication of organisms through asexual scientific method creating exact replications of the parent cell. However, cloning in the 90s has developed to the point where manipulation of human D.N.A is a very real prospect and many issues surrounding it must be addressed. These issues and the positive and negative influences on our society will be discussed herein, concentrating on selective breeding, genetic engineering, the identity of ‘clones’, enhanced cell growth products and production of spare body parts.
Firstly, selective breeding throughout the ages has served humanity in many ways. The origins of cloning lie in the agricultural history of humanity. Therefore the perceived gap between cloning and our nature are not so distant, as cloning has been the means by which humankind has cultivated flora for a millennia. In addition, selective breeding has been the means by which humankind has manipulated fauna for its own ends. In both cases genetic manipulation does serve humanity on many practical levels.
Secondly, humankind has genetically engineered many species through selective breeding. The potential of cloning in food production is, if not unclear, certainly unknown to most people. Selective breeding of flora and fauna has continued for eons. Only breeds of preference have been maintained as useful for humankind. The word ‘clone’ finds its origins in ancient Greek. ‘Klone’ (Kreb, 1985 p.164) defined simply in Greek means ‘twig’, a twig that you could place in the ground and the parent plant would be reproduced, better known now as ‘propagation’. Propagation has long been under the influence of genetic engineering in the form of selective breeding. An example of this is barking dogs, it is well known that wild dogs do not bark as such, they howl and growl, domestic dogs on the other hand have been bred to bark, hence barking dogs have been preferable to humankind as they alert the coming of stranger...
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...is distinctly human to be diverse and that by engineering our constitution we become not unlike pro-genocidal purists asserting dominance.
Blake, W. (1991) ‘The marriage of heaven and hell’, in The enlightened mind- an anthology of Sacred Prose, ed. S. Mitchell. New York: Harper-Collins.
Collins Australian pocket dictionary of the English language (1985) ed. W.A Krebs, Sydney: William Collins sons and co.Ltd.
Knapp, D. (1999) cell scientists hope to grow human spare parts,
[Online]. Available http://www.cnn.com [Accessed 22 May 1999].
Copyright Cable News Network, 1999.
McCall, W. (1999) Dolly the sheep may age prematurely [online].
Available: YAHOO news http://www.yahoo.com/news.htm
[Accessed 26 May 1999].
Reuters (1999) genetically modified food, crops, being debated
[Online]. Available http://www.infoseek.com/news/search.htm
[Accessed 25 April 1999].
N.B. “Puratist”- they who believe genome impurity as an affliction to the whole.
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