Cloning And Ethics


Ever since the successful cloning of an adult sheep, world has been buzzing
about the historical event. "Dolly" the sheep has redefined the
meaning of the words "identical twin." Not only does she look like her
mother, she has the same genetic makeup as her. This experiment was not only was
thought of as impossible, but unthinkable. It was achieved in July 1996 by Dr.

Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Roslin, Scotland. "Dolly" was
announced to the public when she was seven-months old, on February 23, 1997.

Since the birth of "Dolly," the Wilmut’s Institute has cloned seven
more sheep from three different breeds. This process that successfully worked
with the sheep, is now being tested with humans. In response to the global
research, President Bill Clinton immediately ordered a ban on the federal
funding of human cloning in U.S. research. This issue is not to be taken
lightly. On the surface, human cloning looks like the perfect solution to end
many of society’s problems, but in actuality it has tremendous side effects.

Human cloning is an unethical procedure that has detrimental negative
psychological effects. Cloning is the process that ends in one or more plants or
animals being genetically identical to another plant or animal. There are two
procedures that can be called "cloning:" embryo cloning and adult DNA
cloning. Embryo cloning is also known as "artificial twinning." This
form of cloning has been used by animal breeders since the late 1980s and in
mice experiments since the late 1970s ("Human Cloning" 1). The
procedure consists of splitting a single fertilized ovum into two or more clones
and then transplanting them into other females. This process has not been used
to clone human embryos due to the Regan and Bush administrations that banned the
public funding of human embryo and fetal research during most of the 1980s and
early 1990s. The ban was finally lifted under Clinton’s presidency. After this
ban was removed, the first known human embryo cloning was done under the
supervision of Robert J. Stillman at the George Washington Medical Center in

Washington DC. They used seventeen flawed human embryos. They all had been
fertilized by two sperm and had an extra set of chromosomes. The embryos would
never have developed into fetuses. In October 1994, the embryos were
successfully split ("Human Cloning" 1). This experiment began the
public controversy over the ethics of cloning. The government now had to set
guidelines. They included the use only of embryos that had already been created
for the use of in vitro fertilization, because many of these are either thrown
out or frozen. Other procedures were banned, such as implanting the human
embryos in other species and cloned embryos into humans, moving the nucleus from
one embryo to another, and the use of embryos for sex selection. The first
documented case of successful adult DNA cloning was the "Dolly" case.

Adult DNA cloning, in the case of "Dolly," started when a cell was
taken from the mammary tissue of a adult sheep. It was then fused with an ovum
after the nucleus had been removed. To start the developing, the egg was shocked
with an electric pulse. 29 out of 277 of these special eggs began to divide.

They were all implanted in sheep, but only 13 became pregnant and only one lamb,
"Dolly," was born. Animals that have been cloned run the risk of being
infertile and having a lower life expectancy. Although "Dolly" has
been the most publicized animal that has been successfully cloned. There have
been other attempts. A monkey has been cloned and many embryos have been made of
a cow, but none have survived ("Can we Clone" 1). The monkey has been
the closest animal to the human to be cloned. This makes the issue of successful
human cloning more realistic. But will it’s uses be ethical? Simply put, human
cloning is "playing God." Manufacturing will replace procreating.

Instead of the parent and child being on the same level, the parent would have
power over the child. The child would be designed by the parent to serve some
purpose. According to the "Human Cloning: Religious and Ethical

Aspects" article, there are numerous uses that would have positive effects.

But in further reading the article there are also some social concerns with
these new technological advances. A recent poll conducted by CNN found that 6
percent of the United States think that human cloning might be "a good
idea" (Dixon 2). There were various ways that people wanted to use cloning.
"Recover someone who was loved—a twin, a reminder" (Dixon 3). Now
how could this be a beneficial use? Dying is a process of life. All living
things die. That’s the way things happen. Everyone at some point in time has a
regret about not telling a loved one something before it was too late and might
want to bring them back and tell them. This is not the same thing. This cloned
person, will be a baby and a different individual than the person who has died.

Even though their outside appearance might be identical, they are two separate
people. The poor child will have to live in comparison to their twin that came
before them. This could harbor feelings of resentment, towards the dead twin and
the parents. There are some people who would use cloning to end infertility.

Rather than using donated sperm and eggs, a cell of the parent is used. Not only
would the parent give birth to a child that was his/hers, but it would be
his/her twin. This will eliminate procreating all together. But that could also
lead to problems. Sex "creates new gene combinations that confer new
strengths, especially to disease" (Economist 20). Using one parent’s
cells to create a child could also lead to megalomania, which is the
"desire to reproduce one’s own qualities" (Dixon 3). Cloning could
allow a parent to pass on certain qualities that they want to make sure that
their children have. Instead of letting a child be who he/she wants to be the
parent is in a way trying to control his/her child. This is one step away from
eugenics. This is a way to "improve the human race" (Dixon 3), by
giving each child conceived a certain characteristic. This concept is rooted in

Nazi belief in the Aryan race. Humans will be bred to produce certain traits.

Once the "perfect human" was developed, "embryo cloning could be
used to replicate that individual and conceivably produce unlimited numbers of
clones. The same approach could be used to create a genetic underclass for
exploitation: such as individuals with sub-normal intelligence and above normal
strength" ("Human Cloning" 4). The population should pride itself
in the differences in everyone. This concept of an "ideal" person is
the reason that there are people with depression, causing low self esteem,
eating disorders and ultimately suicide. One of the worst things that cloning
could be used for is "spare parts." Using a cell from a person’s own
body to duplicate yourself would make your twin a specimen more than a person.

One suggestion from Dixon’s article was to "take tissue like bone marrow,
then offer the baby for adoption" (3). It is a dehumanizing act that makes
the child an object not a person who needs love just like everyone else. The
purpose of human cloning is "to create someone exactly like the original.

But everyone’s idea about this clone, this copy, seems to be that he or she
would be available for experimentation, used as a repository of spare parts, or
as some sort of pliable toy one could mold in one’s own image" (Shoun 1).

The clone itself is seen as inhuman, an "it," not a "he" or
"she." When, in actuality, the clone is just as much as a person as
the person who he/she was cloned from. The clone and the donor are twins
separated by time. This leads to the point that the clone will have serious
psychological problems as he/she grows up and throughout his/her life. Cloning
causes problems with identity and individuality. If the cloned child is the
identical twin of the mother or father, he/she is already born into a world of
constant comparison. Being expected to be like the person that he or she is
modeled after, could burden down the cloned child. This ultimately gives the
"parents" more control over their children. They can vicariously live
through their children and live on as their children. These
"recreations" of themselves can now become just like them and even
fulfill their hopeless dreams. Not only will they not have an opportunity to be
themselves, but these children will have to constantly try to live up to the
hopes of their parents (Kass 6). Technically, one parent would actually be the
biological twin of the child. Through human cloning, parent-child relationships
would lose all meaning. As bioethicist James Nelson has pointed out, a female
child cloned from her "mother" might develop a desire for a
relationship to her "father," and might seek out the father of her
"mother" (who is her biological twin sister) for paternal attention
and support. In the case of "self-cloning" the child is also the
donor’s twin, which is the equivalent to the result of incest—to be parent
to one’s sibling (Kass 7). The meaning of father, grandfather, aunt, and
cousin will drastically change. Family values are trying to be restored in this
country, but how can they be restored if this country doesn’t even know what a
family is. Dr. Wilmut has been noted as saying, "People are not thinking
this thing carefully. I have not heard of an application of this to copy a
person with which I would be comfortable. That is not appropriate." He
continued that using this technique on humans would be "quite
inhumane" and that he was glad that he lives in a country where embryo
experimentation is illegal ("Scientist" 1). "Would cloning be
wrong because it is ‘playing God,’ or because, when we want to play God, too
often we’re looking for an excuse to demean or mistreat someone? Is cloning
wrong because it has the potential to create a subspecies for which we presently
have no category, or because our sinful nature likes to relegate one group or
another to a class beneath ourselves?" (Shoun 2). No matter how one looks
at this issue, cloning humans will do more harm than good. It is just one more
example of technology getting out of hand before we can control it. This
inhumane act must be stopped before we will not be able to stop it.