Nowadays, the meaning of cloning has evolved and has now come to mean any copy, whether artificial or genetic, of an existing life form. In 1997, Nature published the birth of Dolly, a cloned sheep who led people’s inquiries and interests towards the possibility of human cloning, led by Scottish scientists at the Roslin Institute (Wilmut et.al 1977).
Engineered and overseen by veterinary researcher Dr. Wilmut and some of his colleagues, this achievement in replicating a sheep, was proof that adult mammal cells can be used to create a genetic copy or duplicate. This event had several implications, both scientific and ethical, and as such, it gained worldwide popularity and interest and it has also been termed as the “breakthrough of 1977” by Science Magazine. However, due to this event, it also aroused several uncertainties regarding the true meaning of cloning which have been used by scientists as a process for copying or duplicating any biological material.
People from scientists and legislators up to religious leaders and philosophers have all stated their own opinions and sentiments regarding this subject. In essence, there seems to be a mutual agreement generally although not unanimously, that human “reproductive” is unethical when its purpose is to produce a genetic or identical copy of a human person.
According to Wilmut, cloning, which involves mammalians, have had a very high failure rate. Of 277 reconstrcuted embryos, only 29 were successfully implanted in ewes. And out of these 29 embryos, only one embryo has successfully developed. He stated that “Similar experiments with humans would be totally unacceptable” (Wilmut et al 1977)
The United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning which was proposed by the Sixth Committee on March 2005, was voted upon and was consequently adopted by the UN General Assembly. The Declaration calls upon all the Member States to ban and prevent all forms of human cloning because they go against the principles of human dignity and the protection of human life.
John Stuart Mill says that “the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this” (Mill 1978).
According to some people, cloning is logically the next step in the field of reproductive technology. Identical twins are examples of natural clones, thus, we can conclude that reproductive cloning is merely a technological version of this process.
People who made a great impact or had several contributions in the various fields such as the sciences, medicine, literature, and the arts are those who can be cloned as they would surely keep providing the world with their talents in their respective fields in a way that all people can benefit. Arguments for cloning also include finding the answers or the cure to life-threatening diseases.
Doctors may have the ability to replace tissues and organs damaged by disease or injury in order to restore it to its previous healthy functioning condition. Embryonic stem cells can be grown to produce organs or tissues to repair or replace damaged ones.
Skin tissues for victims of fires and those who have 3rd degree burns, brain cells for those who have been afflicted with diseases that cause harm to the brain, spinal cord cells for the quadriplegics and vital human organs could be produced. Producing tissues and organs for transplantation may someday be an easy procedure since people would not have to worry anymore that these transplanted organs and tissues could be rejected by the person’s body or immune system.
Cloning is leading to breakthroughs with stem cells and can even reverse heart attacks. In the future, cloning may be able to reverse the aging process.
Human cloning and the technologies associated with cloning have benefits that could increase a person’s quality of life and thus provide several benefits to the society at large.
Human cloning could also be of value and very favorable in several areas and fields such as cell development, infertility, as well as dealing with plastic and reconstructive surgery. Accordingly, about 15% of Americans have problems with fertility and doctors nowadays are usually rendered helpless as well. With the help of cloning, species facing extinction may also be saved from extinction.