Human Cloning is the
creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. Two
commonly discussed types of theoretical human cloning are: therapeutic
cloning and reproductive cloning. Two common methods
are Therapeutic cloning would
involve cloning cells from a human for use in medicine and transplants. Reproductive
cloning would involve making an entire cloned human, instead of
just specific cells or tissues.
Importance of Human Cloning is that in this stem cells from an
individual with a disease lets scientists and researchers understand the
disease and develop a treatment for it. In medicine cloning is
used to find out about many genes that cause diseases, this is also known as gene therapy.
Somatic cell nuclear
transfer can create clones for both reproductive and therapeutic purposes. The
diagram depicts the removal of the donor nucleus for schematic purposes; in
practice the whole donor cell is transferred.
1. Why there is a renewed
interest in human cloning?
2. Why science has an
ETHICAL ISSUES in cloning research?
3. What is the role of
autonomy in cloning research?
PROCESS OF SCNT
The process of somatic cell nuclear transplant involves two
different cells. The first being a female gamete, known as the ovum
(egg/oocyte). In human SCNT (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer) experiments, these
eggs are obtained through consenting donors, utilizing ovarian stimulation. The
second being a somatic cell, referring to the cells of the human body. Skin
cells, fat cells, and liver cells are only a few examples.( 1)The nucleus of the donor egg cell is removed and discarded,
leaving it ‘deprogrammed.’ What is left is a somatic cell and an unnucleated
egg cell. (2)These are then fused by
inserting the somatic cell into the ’empty’ ovum. After being inserted into the
egg, the somatic cell nucleus is reprogrammed by its host egg cell.
The ovum, now containing the somatic cell’s nucleus, is stimulated with a shock
and will begin to divide. The egg is now viable and capable of producing an
adult organism containing all the necessary genetic information from just one
parent. Development will ensue normally and after many mitotic divisions, this
single cell forms a blastocyst (an
early stage embryo with
about 100 cells) with an identical genome to the original organism (i.e. a
BENEFITS OF HUMAN CLONING
1) Human cloning technology
could be used to reverse heart attacks.
2) Conditions such as
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart failure, degenerative
joint disease, and other problems may be made curable if human cloning and its
technology are not banned.
4) Breast implants.
5) Defective genes.
6) Down’s syndrome. Those
women at high risk for Down’s syndrome can avoid that risk by cloning.
7) Tay-Sachs disease. This
is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder could be prevented by using cloning
to ensure that a child does not express the gene for the disorder
8) Liver failure. We may be
able to clone livers for liver transplants
9) Kidney failure. We may be
able to clone kidneys for kidney transplants
10) Leukemia. We should be able to clone the bone marrow
for children and adults suffering from leukemia. This is expected to be one of the first
benefits to come from cloning technology.
11) Cancer. We may learn how to switch cells on and off
through cloning and thus be able to cure cancer. Scientists still do not know exactly how
cells differentiate into specific kinds of tissue, nor to they understand why
cancerous cells lose their differentiation.
Cloning, at long last, may be the key to understanding differentiation
12) Cystic fibrosis. We may be able to produce effective genetic
therapy against cystic fibrosis. Ian Wilmot
and colleagues are already working on this problem.
13) Spinal cord injury.
14) Cloning technology can
be used to test for and perhaps cure genetic diseases.
Ethical issues at different phases of stem cell
Ethical issues of human cloning have become an important issue in recent
years. Many ethical arguments against human cloning are based on
misconceptions. Many people think that these clones will have the same
characteristics / personalities as the person cloned. Although clone and cloned
individual have the same genes, traits and personalities are different. People
think that a clone is physically identical to the donor and her behavior, but
this is not true because although there is a physical identity, living environment
shapes an individual’s ongoing behavior and psychology. Many people believe
that cloning will lead to loss of individuality eventually, but people have
their own personality cloned which personality is similar to those in which
they were created. Lawrence Nelson, associate professor of philosophy at UCS,
said that embryos can be used for research if: – the purpose of research cannot
be achieved by other methods; – the
embryos have reached more than 14-18 days of development; – those who use forbid you to consider or
treat as personal property. One of the most serious problems of cloning of
human embryos for therapeutic purposes is that with harvesting stem cells, the
embryo is formed by cloning practical killed. We cannot reduce the existence of
a human embryo to “a cell” as long as after both science and teaching
of the Church, the human embryo is a carrier of life.(5)
Proposals to use nucleus transfer techniques in human stem
cell research raise a set of concerns beyond the moral status of any created
embryo. These have led to some individuals and organizations who are not opposed
to human embryonic stem cell research to be concerned about, or opposed to,
1. Medical risks of oocyte retrieval.
Severe hyperovulation syndrome may require hospitalization or
surgery, women donating oocytes for research should be protected against the
costs of complications of hormonal stimulation and oocyte retrieval (7).
2. Protecting the reproductive interests of women in infertility
If women in infertility treatment share oocytes
with researchers—either their own oocytes or those from an oocyte donor—their
prospect of reproductive success may be compromised because fewer oocytes are
available for reproductive purposes (9). In this situation, the physician
carrying out oocyte retrieval and infertility care should give priority to the
reproductive needs of the patient in IVF. The highest quality oocytes should be
used for reproductive purposes (9).In IVF programs some oocytes fail to
fertilize, and some embryos fail to develop sufficiently to be implanted. Such
materials may be donated to researchers. To protect the reproductive interests
of donors, several safeguards should be in place (8)
3. Payment to oocyte donors.
Some object that such payments induce women to undertake excessive
risks, particularly poorly educated women who have limited options for employment,
as occurred in the Hwang scandal. Such concerns about undue influence, however,
may be addressed without banning payment. For example, participants could be
asked questions to ensure that they understood key features of the study and
that they felt they had a choice regarding participation (10)
4. Informed consent for oocyte donation.
In California, CIRM has instituted heightened
requirements for informed consent for oocyte donation for research (7). The
CIRM regulations go beyond requirements for disclosure of information to oocyte
donors (7). The major ethical issue is whether donors appreciate key
information about oocyte donation, not simply whether the information has been
disclosed to them or not. As discussed previously, in other research settings,
research participants often fail to understand the information in detailed
Findings in the research
is that there is a renewed interest in human cloning and science has an ETHICAL
ISSUES in cloning research.There is also the role of autonomy in cloning
research these are all the things that I discussed in summary