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What is Cloning?

Paper Masters examines what cloning is in research papers that expore the scientific, ethical and/or medical aspects of cloning. You can order a custom written paper on cloning and have it discuss any or all of the various issues that surround cloning.

In recent years, medical technology has become capable of many tremendous advances.  Some fatal diseases have become curable simply through early detection and treatment.  One area that as been the focus of much medical research is human reproduction.  Individuals, once unable to have children, may now be able to reproduce through many types of intervention.  One technique that continues to be under investigation is called cloning.  The purpose of this paper is to describe the process of cloning and some of the implications this procedure may have on society.

Outlining the Process of Cloning for Research

Basically, cloning is the process of producing another living creature that is genetically identical to one already in existence.  This may be accomplished through two techniques. What is Cloning

  1. The first is referred to as forced twinning. Here, a fertilized egg or an embryo is divided, so that it will produce twins.  In this procedure, the two living creatures are genetically identical.
  2. The second process is often considered by authorities to be the basic cloning technique.  The nucleus of an unfertilized egg is removed, and in its place a cell is inserted.  This product is then placed in an environment that causes it to begin the process of cell division, growing into approximately the same creature as its donor. 

Interestingly, this living creature is not completely identical genetically, unless the unfertilized egg is also from the donor.

Over the course of the last several years, marked breakthroughs in science and technology have made the once impossible, possible. Such is the case with cloning. Although only once read about in science fiction novels, science has pushed the threshold of knowledge with regard to the human body to its apex, making possible the potential for human cloning. Along with this magnificent scientific breakthrough have come a myriad of moral and ethical issues that, because of their very existence, should serve as the basis for banning the practice of human cloning altogether. In order to prove this point a careful consideration of the biological, ethical and religious issues involved in the debate on this issue are first warranted.

Examining the specific issues that are involved with the process of cloning, researchers have noted that human cloning does not have widespread support among the population. Yet despite this lack of support, research has shown that similar oppositions were made to in vitro fertilization when it was first introduced in the 1970s. Given the positive outcomes that have resulted from allowing science and technology pursue this route of reproduction, some experts feel that human cloning should be allowed with the full support of the government. Thus supporters of the process contend that the problems that can arise from the decision to clone humans have been exacerbated in public discourse. “But before government rushes to outlaw my dream, it should at least seriously consider whether the opposition to human cloning is based on real dangers”.

As noted by supporters of human cloning, there are no real dangers associated with the practice. In fact, according to these authors, human cloning should be seen as nothing more than an advanced reproduction technique that can serve to benefit millions of individuals. However, when one looks at the specific medical and ethical issues that are involved in the creation of a human clone it becomes clear that the process is more than just the advancement of technology. Take for instance Dolly the sheep, the first animal to ever be cloned. When the experiment was announced as a success in 1997, researchers began clamoring to increase research budgets for cloning research.

Ethical Considerations in a Research Paper on Cloning

In addition to the fact that cloning raises the ethical issue of when life begins, researchers have also noted that the process raises the question of what kind of life the clone will have once it is produced. In short, what types of rights will clones have once they are produced? Who will comprise their families? Who will bear the burden of responsibility should something happen to these clones as a result of their genetic construction? There is no doubt that these issues are of paramount concern. What is perhaps most troubling is that these are not the only ethical issues that surround the practice. Researchers go on to note that there are other specific ethical arguments that have been made against the development of human clones. These include:

  1. “By cloning we could develop a standard (or multiple standards) for an ideal person that could, in turn, diminish the appreciation for other types of people.”
  2. “The availability of genetic multiples could make us careless about those who already exist because they could be replaced like interchangeable (fungible) parts.”
  3. “Government or business could control the cloning process and breed qualities for their purposes, for example, compliant soldiers or workers with great endurance and a high tolerance for monotony”.

Finally, the issue of human cloning must also be considered through the perspective of religion. Although some authors contend that this should not be a critical issue for discussion, others note that because American culture is founded on religious beliefs, there is a clear impetus to examine the issue of cloning within the context of religion. Examining some of the specific issues that have been raised in the context of religion, researchers note that cloning humans is against God’s will because it creates man in the image of man rather than in the image of God, as stipulated in the Bible. In addition, other arguments that have been offered with regard to religion contend that man should not play God. The sanctity of life was endowed by God and should not be placed in the hands of man. For this reason, human cloning cannot be justified under most religious mandates. The Catholic Church has gone so far as to state that the practice is intrinsically evil and can never be justified".

Further examining the position of the Catholic Church on the practice of human cloning, it becomes quite clear that the religious arguments that have been presented are indeed quite relevant to any individual that believes in God. For instance, the Church has argued that, “having cloning technology could tempt humans to violate the sanctity of life. If clones are seen as less than equal, people might sacrifice them for the benefit of their creators, perhaps to provide organs for transplant”. In addition, the church has gone on to argue that the ends do not justify the means. What this effectively suggests is that what can be produced from the process of cloning does not justify the benefits that could be garnered by society.

When put in this perspective, it becomes clear that human cloning can offer no real value to the process of human life. By creating life from manipulated DNA, the researcher becomes nothing more than the devil’s advocate for disrespecting life. Many in the religious community fear that if this bridge is crossed, there will be no point of return for mankind. When the issue of human cloning is put in this context, the true profundity of what is being examined comes to light. This issue is often glossed over by scientists wishing to promote the reality of science over the humaneness of the process of life.

Synthesizing all of the information that has been presented in this investigation, it becomes clear that the process of human cloning has no basis on biological, ethical or religious grounds. With regard to biology, it is evident that researchers have not yet figured out the exact methods for creating perfect, unflawed clones. As such, clones that are created are typically genetically flawed and suffer horrible deaths. On the issue of ethics, it is clear that the possibility of human cloning raises so many issues that few can be unequivocally answered. Until scientists have the knowledge to assuage some of these ethical concerns, the process of human cloning would be nothing short of barbaric. Finally, with respect to religion, it is clear that those who believe in God could not support the development of human clones. In its simplest form, it is an abomination of what God wanted for man.

With all of these arguments in place, it is difficult to understand how any individual could argue in favor of human cloning. The evidence to data suggests that the process is simply too risky and dangerous. Until scientists have definitively developed a method for cloning humans, the process should be banned. If and when the proper understanding and technology becomes available to pursue the goal of human cloning, only then should the topic be reopened for discussion in public discourse.

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