Cloning: How Far Will It Go?

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Cloning: How Far Will It Go?


Cloning: How far will it go?
Everyday people find themselves at a crossroads that requires a decision as to which path to follow. In the past few years, scientists have gained knowledge about cloning that could impact our lives for centuries to come. As a society we are at a crossroads and we will have to decide how to use this knowledge. Will we choose to increase our power over nature or will we develop a partnership? There are many benefits of cloning, but do they outweigh the possibility of losing genetic diversity, facing genetic discrimination, and the scary consequences portrayed in science fiction books like Brave New World and 1984, and movies like Gattaca and Planet of the Apes.
?Cloning is the production of a genetically identical duplicate of an organism? (Hawley 1). In a sense, many plants, algae, unicellular organisms, and even humans naturally produce identical offspring. For example, the dandelion reproduces asexually to create a copy of itself. As a species it has reached a plateau and can no longer progress. Within the human species, identical twins are essentially clones. The division of the embryo produces two embryos with the exact same genetic information. The consequence of a species only producing asexually is the loss of genetic diversity, which can have adverse effects on a species.
There is a gray area between the benefits and the problems of cloning. Some people may say that anything that improves the lives of humans is a benefit, but I disagree. Human cloning needs to be restricted. If taken to the extreme, human cloning could be disastrous to mankind. First of all, asexual reproduction creates a population with the same genetic information which eliminates genetic diversity. Without diversity, one disease could wipe out the whole population because no person would be able to fight a disease any better than anyone else. In Brave New World, the author writes about ?making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before.? Can you imagine that many people walking around that look exactly like you? It is true that people today have lost some sense of individuality because of peoples? desires to achieve society?s ideal image, but cloning would further discourage individualism. Both our biological and social structures could be in jeopardy if we allow cloning to get out of control.
On the other hand, cloning can be beneficial without having to intervene in the natural reproduction of humans. The possible benefits of cloning include improving livestock for consumption by humans, curing diseases, and producing cells and organs that are compatible with a transplant patient. Cloning could drastically improve the agricultural industry. Genetic information of livestock has already been altered so the livestock produce biological proteins that help people with diseases like diabetes and Parkinson?s. Also, it would be wonderful to cure common diseases, but do we understand the impact of curing diseases? Our population would skyrocket and new diseases would probably develop from mutations. Although, I know if I had cancer or Alzheimer?s disease I would want there to be a procedure to eliminate these diseases from my genes. Theoretically, using cloning or more specifically, genetic engineering, to eliminate diseases is similar to using vaccinations to prevent polio, chicken pox, and measles. This knowledge could also be used to develop ?nerve cells for spinal cord injuries, skin cells for burns, and bone cells for osteoporosis? (Meek). These cells are then used to replace the flawed cells. It is hard to say where to draw the line on researching these techniques. As a society, we can?t concentrate on saving the lives of a few people and forget to concern ourselves with the long term effects on the species as a whole. If we do, our hopes of improving the our lives today may end the lives of our descendants. There are many possibilities within the scope of cloning, will we ?play God? or be a partner of nature?
Now consider the possible problems and ethical issues that could arise from cloning. Scientists are working to discover new techniques to improve human life, but will these techniques be misused and who determines how they are used in the first place? A commonly discussed issue

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