Question: How do you feel about cloning? And if you oppose it, what are your issues with it?

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  1. I’m generally in favour of what is called ‘therapeutic’ cloning, which is cloning adult cells to study or for medical purposes. I have great hopes for things like organ replacement done by growing, say, a new heart from our own cells. On the other hand, I find ‘reproductive’ cloning – the creation of a copy of an existing person from their own cells – to be more of a problem, ethically.

    I don’t lose much sleep over it, partially because unlike what you see on television, cloning doesn’t create an exact copy of a living organism. This is a mistake that people often make when they think about cloning. If I was reproductively cloned, I wouldn’t have an identical copy of myself standing next to me with the same body and thoughts as I have now. The reason is that the way we are is shaped by the experiences we’ve had while we were growing up, and the environment that we experienced. The experience in the womb, the family environment you grow up in, the air and food and water you take in, a thousand things which change who we turn out to be, all of these things would make a ‘clone’ a different person. In some ways, this should be obvious: even identical twins, born at the same time to the same parents, have their own feelings and thoughts, their own unique bodies and medical conditions, and so on. If you’ve ever met twins, you’ll know that they’re similar, but not exactly the same.

    Reproductive cloning could be a problem, especially if people wanted to grow clones simply for their own selfish reasons, such as to harvest organs from them. And we need to give a lot more thought to why we’re doing reproductive cloning if we want to do more research along those lines. But not only is reproductive cloning a fair ways off in humans, but it’s only a small part of cloning research. Most cloning research is done on therapeutic cloning or as research for things like regrowing extinct animals, and I don’t see any big ethical problems with these sorts of research. They’re not without their technical problems (which are a little technical to go into here, but are largely about genetics), but I’m otherwise fine with work on cloning of this sort.


  2. I am in favour of cloning adult cells for study or medical reasons (ie therapeutic cloning), however I think the idea of “reproductive cloning” (creatingin a copy of an existing person) to be wrong.

    Although reproductive cloning would not create an identical copy like television and movies depict (because humans are more than just our cells, we are shaped by our environments, and our experiences – just look at how ‘different’ identical twins are), I would be most concered about the resons behind why we would be wanting to create “identical” copies of people. If it was purely for something like harvesting organs for transplant or bone marrow then there are serious moral and ethical issues there!

    Therapeutic cloning on the other hand is something I find to be a quite exciting thought! The possiblity of being able to take cells from someone clone them to grow specific tissue or organs to use for treatment quite exciting.


  3. There are lots of different things that cloning can be used for, each with reasons why people agree or disagree with their use.

    Some scientists make clones of viruses and bacteria, or create clones of genes so that they can study diseases in more detail. I support this type of cloning, because it helps us to better understand these diseases and find new ways to treat them.

    Like Steven and Kym, I also support ‘therapeutic cloning’, which is using cells from a person to grow replacement cells and organs for their own body. Waiting lists for organ transplants can be very long, and sometimes people’s bodies reject the new organ, because their body thinks it is a “foreign object”, and starts trying to fight it, the same way it might for an infection. If we could grow our own replacements, rejection would not happen as often, because your body would recognise that it was from the same body!

    I am against reproductive cloning for a few reasons. Some have already been mentioned by Steven and Kym, like having organ farms where you just grow people for their body parts. The other thing that worries me is what is known as “species diversity”, which is all the little things that make everyone different. This includes things like your hair and eye colour, how good your immune system is at fighting bugs, and hereditary diseases, which are passed down from your parents in your DNA. When you clone something, you are making an exact genetic copy, so instead of having genes from both mum and dad, you only get them from one parent. When a species has low diversity, it is harder to adapt to change, and they react to things like diseases in exactly the same way. If we remove diversity, it will be harder to resist new diseases never seen before, so one diseases could wipe out a whole population!

    Cloning extinct animals can have some of the same problems. If we had lots of samples stored, so there was lots of genetic diversity, it might work. That is assuming we could find a species still alive that could give birth to/lay eggs containing the new, previously extinct animal (For example, a modern elephant is far too small to carry a mammoth for the full length of pregnancy). But, if there was low gene diversity, so you only had one or two samples to work with, there is nothing to stop that animal becoming extinct again in the exact same way.


  4. Dear Lazman; You asked very important question. There are a lot of debates on this subjects among scientists, politicians, religious leaders, almost every group of people. Kym, Steve and Vanessa have explained the subject very well and I agree with them. There are very good reasons to support cloning for therapeutic purpose. It is easy to understand if you think of the patients and doctors.

    However, there are many dangers of cloning done in the hands of some scientists of wrong mind or just of curiosity or for the profit-making. ‘Cloning technique’ is like a double-edged knife, it could be life saving tool in the hands of the surgeon but could be very dangerous weapon in the hands of the burglar.

    For conclusion, I don’t feel comfortable about cloning but still side for it. However, there should be good measure of tight regulation legally to prevent wrong use as much as possible. It should be something of international concern for sure.


  5. what do you feel about cloning? could you imagine having one or more people walking around that are exactly like you? Same hair, body shape etc. Freaky….
    But I have to say, for the purpose of breeding cows that produce a lot of milk, or for the purpose of growing crops that are drought resistant and could therefore help loads of starving people in Africa, why not?
    I just don’t think we should ever clone people….