Wool is being pulled over our eyes – cloned wool, that is. Since cloning Dolly the sheep in 1997, scientists have found ways to duplicate sheep, goats, rats and pigs and are on the verge of cloning humans. Two scientists, Panayiotis Zavos and Severino Antinori, promise to clone the first human by next year. Antinori already has successfully implanted a fertilized egg into a 63-year-old woman.
When we think of cloning humans, images of clones taking over the world emerge in our minds. We see clones turning on their DNA parents (whom they are exactly the same as). The realm of cloning has been limited to sci-fi literature, but today cloning is a clear and frightening reality that governments, societies and people of the world need to grapple with.
When it is often blown out of proportion, cloning seems scary and unethical. But even when viewed objectively, cloning still inspires fear. Cloning humans still has unethical implications that suggest that the negative effects of cloning outweigh its potential benefits to the world. It takes hard work and many deaths to produce one clone. It took 277 eggs implanted in sheep to successfully conceive Dolly, the first cloned animal. Cloning experiments have a 5 percent success rate, making the risks involved in cloning an animal extremely high and the possibility of success very narrow. Most fetuses from these experiments were abnormal, died early and had physical defects. Drs. Zavos and Antinori are presumptuous in promising to clone human beings by next year, especially when the failures of many experiments are evident. It should not be considered at this stage when there is too much risk.
Four U.S. states – California, Louisiana, Michigan and Rhode Island have laws banning any type of cloning research. Twelve nations worldwide have banned human cloning, but there are still other nations willing to allow this kind of research. Most scientists throughout the world are abiding by a moratorium on cloning. However, Drs. Zavos and Antinori have negotiated with countries that do not have such laws governing them and hope to begin their business there. It's not sci-fi anymore – it's reality. President Bush announced that he will not currently allow human cloning in the United States. Clinton had also said that during his term. As a leading country, we are faced with a huge dilemma. Do we jump on the bandwagon of scientific progress and stay at the cutting edge of technology, or do we allow ourselves to see all the negative implications and results of human cloning?
People throughout the earth are going to always try to clone humans, but it is the responsibility of the United States to keep an eye to monitor the progress of this technology.
Clones are more likely to die earlier than their models because their cells have already divided multiple times. Clones are also subject to abnormalities that experimenters may not be aware of at the time of origin. After a few years, clones may develop unexpected abnormalities while living a normal life like their DNA parent. Scientists do not know when and how clones become mutated. Clones, as they grow up, may develop dysfunctional body parts and mutations, severely affecting the course of their lives.
Putting fellow human beings through such pain is cruel and unnecessary. Cloned humans are true, living people. We are not dealing with lab mice; we are dealing with people. As a country that espouses the creed of human rights for every person, we cannot allow human cloning. Clones and their DNA parents are genetically identical. Because of their genetic composition, clones would have the same feelings, the same abilities and the same complexity of mind as any human being.
The idea alone of being a clone would put a person in a maze of finding self-identity and have huge societal issues. We cannot subject any human being to developing unexpected physical abnormalities and possible early death because they are an experiment. Clones would not be able to stop themselves from being experiments. Science imposes a framework, a context that this human being is the scientific experiment. Scientific testing on humans has not been practiced and should not be practiced on human clones. Is furthering scientific knowledge worth sacrificing human beings? Clones allow people to live vicariously through them. What DNA parents want is a second chance and they find it through the possibility of cloning themselves. They have interesting intentions, which are not at all practical. People desire that their clones would live the life that was "meant to be theirs." But if it was meant to be yours, you would've lived that life. It is not economical nor profitable to extend one's life another 70 or so years.
The world is constantly changing because there are always new people being brought into this world. The earth is only so big and we, without human cloning, are already using up most of it.
By the year 2050, the earth's population will reach its maximum capacity of 11 billion people. If we add in the factor of human cloning and its potential popularity, humanity will be crowded off the earth or starved to death. It is not fair to take up more chances at living than were given to you. Maybe if we settle on Mars we'll have enough room, but that doesn't seem like it will happen soon. Cloning humans should not be done today nor should it ever be done. Drs. Zavos and Antinori are venturing into a realm where the boundaries between the positive and the negative impact of scientific discoveries on the future are extremely fuzzy. Proponents of human cloning say that cloning has the potential to lead us to discover cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and other diseases. It could also help find solutions for baldness and replace the need for cosmetic surgery. It'd be a wonder-cure then, wouldn't it?
It would be a panacea for all physical concerns – the key to immortality, a fountain of youth.
Yet the price that humanity would pay in terms of pain, radical societal alteration and sacrifice of human lives does not seem worth all the loosely-based potential human cloning offers in the world.
But the fact remains – we are on the verge of discovering how to create people, but we cannot willingly allow ourselves to support research that can, and for the most part will, result in more human suffering. These potential cures for diseases fade into the background when set up against the dark picture of the negative effects of cloning. Clones would most likely suffer from disabilities and deformities, and would lead to an overcrowded world, and a myriad of ethical issues weighing the world down.