Cloning

Cloning remains one of the most important subjects for discussion in popular science periodicals. Cloning techniques have been actively used in molecular biology and genetics. Significant progress has been achieved using these techniques. In particular, different animals have been successfully cloned.

The benefits of developing cloning techniques are obvious. First of all, the cloning techniques bring hope of improving human health by curing genetic disorders and cancer. For instance, the organs from genetically-modified animals, which would carry genes similar to human genes, may be transplanted to sick humans. Secondly, the families, where parents are sterile, will get an opportunity to have children with genetic material from parents. This method is called reproductive cloning and includes the transfer of genetic material from a donor somatic cell into an egg and then the transfer of the developing organism into the uterus of a surrogate human. Thirdly, cloning may serve as a scientific tool to prolong human life. So far, the optimism in reaching this goal belongs to the adepts of transhumanism.

Despite of positive view and optimistic expectations from cloning, public concerns are that cloning procedures will not follow ethical criteria. For example, some individuals may want to clone themselves to generate fetuses in order to use them for organs replacement. Interestingly, religious views on cloning are not that homogenous as one may imagine. Western Abrahamic religions oppose human cloning as ‘’playing God’’ experiments. In contrast, many Eastern religious traditions do not support Western conservatism. Moreover, the concept of reincarnation, being one of the philosophical concepts in both Buddhism and Hinduism, has been used as a bridge for approval of cloning.

Researchers themselves raise concerns over different potential harms and complications of cloning. In particular, some studies have found abnormal features in the development of cloned animals, including a very well-known scientific celebrity Dolly the Sheep, who lived shorter life than an average sheep, although the scientific creators claimed that Dolly’s health problems were not caused by genetic abnormalities. In addition, the approval of the consumption of food products from cloned animals by the United States Food and Drug Administration has been strongly criticized, since the experts believe the public should be made aware of the origin of the food products from the cloned animals.

Despite all these concerns, the scientific achievements such as cloning are considered to be the steps of intellectual scientific evolution and are highly welcomed. In conclusion, cloning remains in focus of the public interests, although the ethical standards on this subject are still in the embryonic stage of the development and require discussions and exchanging opinions from both the scientific community and the general public.

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