Imagine a world where we can have two of everything. Think about the possibilities. Imagine having two Ankits. Actually, I kinda want to take that back now. One Ankit is already too much. I might as well walk myself off the stage, but before that happens, I need to tell you a bit about genetic engineering and cloning. So what is genetic engineering and cloning? Well genetic engineering is the deliberate modification of the characteristic of an organism by manipulating its genetic material.
While cloning is using this genetic material to produce an exact replica of the original organism. Both these processes have sparked substantial debate amongst groups within society during recent times. Genetic engineering and cloning has become so controversial, that laws have be passed to set up boundaries and limitations. These laws are always frequently changing to satisfy our morals and values on genetic engineering and cloning. These processes have resulted in great controversy ever since the cloning of Dolly the Sheep.
Dolly was the first animal to be successfully cloned from an adult somatic cell, using nuclear transfer. Unfortunately, even though the procedure was a success, Dolly did not meet the life expectancy of a sheep, dying at an early age of six due to a lung disease. Dolly had also been previously diagnosed with arthritis at the age of four. These occurrences have raised considerable concerns on the ethics of cloning. Not surprisingly, there are people who support genetic engineering and cloning, and those who don’t.
People who oppose cloning believe that predetermining a child’s gender via cloning is unmoral and something which should be determined by God or fate. And that Cloning would hinder human uniqueness. It is also believed that a world where everyone has been cloned to perfection would be bland. Exploitation is another main concern regarding human cloning. Cloned humans have been predicted to be treated more like commodities instead of a human being, and have restricted freedom. In bad hands, these clones may even be utilised as slaves and servants.
Finally, the success rate of human cloning experiments so far has been hovering between a 97 to 99. 9% failure rate. This statistic by itself strongly deters the progression of human cloning. Many of these experiments have resulted in some form of miscarriage, stillbirths or genetic defects. Furthermore it is often debated whether the death of an embryo is considered as murder. Even though it has been proven that an embryo hasn’t developed enough to be considered alive, this statement still remains controversial.
Although many may oppose human cloning, there are some people who support it. These people believe that cloning will allow couples who are infertile to have children. The advancement of cloning would allow specific human cells, tissues, and organs to be cloned, which can then be used to save lives. This process is known as therapeutic cloning. Humans with an unrepairable cell, tissue or organ can have their damaged body parts replaced much easily. Any troubles of attempting to find a donor will no longer exist.
Cloning is also widely supported by animal enthusiasts. It is believed that cloning can also be used for saving endangered species. By cloning a near extinct animal, the reproduction rate can be extravagantly increased if the clone was a success, resulting in reviving a possibly endangered species. Due to the low success and danger of genetic engineering and cloning, certain laws have been passed to introduce limitations. The Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act was passed in 2002 to ban human cloning.
As a consequence of, the New South Wale government then introduced the Human Cloning and Other Prohibited Practices Act 2003 to mirror changes made by the Commonwealth. This act was later improved in 2007. These laws prevent placing a human embryo into another human body or the body of an animal, creating a human embryo for a purpose other than achieving pregnancy in a woman, creating or developing a human embryo for fertilisation that contains genetic material provided by more than two people, and developing a human embryo outside the body of a woman for more than 14 days.
These laws when broken, will ensue an imprisonment of 15 years. Even though human cloning is pretty much prohibited, therapeutic cloning of human cells, tissues and organs is permitted. Until research has proven that human cloning is 100% safe, and the consequences of the existence of human clones has been thoroughly studied, I strongly believe that human cloning should remain forbidden.