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Posted on July 31st, 2012, by

Cloning is a controversial question, which becomes a reason of heated debates in modern society. Fantastic pictures created by many generations of the fiction writers came to be more real than they have expected. Cloning is not a term from the fiction novel any more but a reality we have to meet and react accordingly. Rapid development of new technologies in this field put the question of cloning from the plane of mere moralizing to more practical plane.

There are many fields where cloning can be used. There are different kinds of cloning and these different kinds can be used for different purposes.

There are three different branches of development of cloning, which belong to different areas.  Embryo cloning deals with the fertilization and includes technique, which gives possibility to recreate embryos. In this case fertilized embryos are reproduced and newborn babies will have absolutely identical DNA. This kind of cloning was used for cloning animals and only lately big step was made in this area in order to make it possible to use embryo cloning to help people who can not have children. Another type of cloning is called reproductive cloning and assumes reproduction of grown animals. Famous ship Dolly was created using this method. One cell from the grown up creature is used to fertilize and create an embryo.

Third type of cloning called therapeutic is used mainly in medicine. Another name for this type of cloning is biomedical cloning. This kind of cloning is used to create organs or tissues for transplantation. In this case new healthy organ is created from the DNA of the person in order to replace his or her ill organ. Theoretically, this technique can be much better than transplantation of organs from other people. Organs and tissues achieved with the help of biomedical cloning will be absolutely suitable for the patient as they would be created from his DNK, which would make them absolutely identical to the organs they replace. Using this method would allow to simplify the process of transplantation and to reduce its cost (Andrews, 1998).

Cloning has many proponents and opponents. The question of  cloning rises important religious, philosophical, ethical and moral questions. Those, who support cloning, give many reasons about use it can bring to the mankind.

Among the main reasons which should persuade wide public in the necessity to continue experiments and tests in the field of cloning they call great use of cloning for medicine as it give the opportunity to grow organs for transportation; wonderful chance for barren couples to have a child with DNA of one of the parents. Supporters of the cloning also depict a wonderful possibility to revive great scientists, inventors of the past and put the mankind into the new level with their help. Perspectives depicted by those who support cloning are very seducing but we should remember about the dangers hidden in the development of this new method of reproduction.

In order to escape threatening name cloning scientists use the term somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) in order to soften the truth, but the term doesn’t change the meaning. SCNT describes a process, when a differentiated cell serves for creating the new embryo. As the article talks about human cloning, the human embryo is meant accordingly.

Some scientists drive parallels between cloning (SCNT) and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and natural clones twins.   According to his point, IVF was also prohibited in the beginning, as people tend to be afraid of everything new and unknown. This is exactly what happens with SCNT now.

Сcomparison of SCNT and IVF don’t stand critics. First of all, two partners are necessary for IVF, whereas only one biological parent is enough for SCNT. We can not predict the effect of combination, where only one set of genes is used for the future of the child. Secondly, IVF isn’t accepted by everyone yet and can’t serve as an example. In addition, a very low percentage of embryos, which survive is still an important problem.  In addition, the question of embryo loss is not only a moral question as it also deals with the physical aspect of reproduction.

We know that in most cases twins are identical only physically, e.g. have the same physical appearance but have different characters, mental abilities and inclinations. We can not know this about the children, get with the help of SCNT.

It is necessary to remember about the problem of social adaptation and possible trouble psychic identity of the cloned children. We can not dare to predict the social reactions and possible tragic consequences it can cause. We do not fully know about the impact of cloning on the mental development. Animal cloning gives us an idea only about physical characteristics of the clone and we can not penetrate psychic and mental consequences of cloning yet.

Possible problems with parents if a child is an exact copy of one of the partners cannot also be neglected.

Moral dilemma is also an important issue, which comes to people’s mind when they start talking about cloning. Most religious organizations do not support cloning as they estimate it like actions against Divine plan and like those, which contradict God’s will. Religious figures state that God’s opinion is expressed in the Bible and this opinion definitely sentences cloning.  There are passages in the Bible where it is mentioned that human wish to liken to God will be punished severely.

Dr. Dixon, one of the prominent experts on the field of ethics of cloning is very harsh when expressing his opinion about the future of cloning adult people. He states that The only reasons people want to clone are for selfish reasons. They are totally obsessed with their own right to have a clone or to clone dead relatives, without any regard to the welfare of the child, and this is the whole thrust of it. (Dixon 1998).

  Experiments in cloning on animals show many possibilities where cloning can be used. At the same time cloning gets a completely different shade when we talk about humans. The most radical and conservative enemies of any kinds of cloning predict degradation of human race if cloning is ever used for humans. There is another big group of scientists who see cloning as a wonderful way to overcome many diseases, oldness and even death. A lot of scientists state most fear about human cloning stems from ignorance (Pence 2000, 117) and their opinion also has right to be heard. It is necessary to perform a careful study of all possible negative consequences of cloning in order to escape possible problems. There are many areas, where cloning can bring use and not have negative consequences.

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