We all remember the news in July of 1996 when it was confirmed that the first Animal had been successfully cloned. It was sheep that was named Dolly who was cloned in Scotland. This sparked a huge debate over how ethical it is to clone other animals and even people. Cloning of other animals soon followed including Brennan McKinney who had lost her beloved dog Booger and paid $50,000 to have the dog cloned by South Korean scientists, this also sparked a huge debate on many levels. They successfully cloned five puppies for her and published photos that show her as overjoyed at the birth of the dogs. It all seems out of this world and a bit crazy, even playing God for those who do the cloning.
For those of us who love our pets know that once they pass away that we will never have another one like them. Which causes us to be tempted to clone them but that option is very expensive and out of reach for the common person. So is this all a prelude to human cloning? Many animals have been successfully cloned with health issues so would those same health issues exist for humans? To get the facts we need to look at cloning as a whole.
Cloning by definition is to make multiple identical copies. There are three types of cloning recombinant DNA cloning, reproductive (which is what we hear most about from the News), and therapeutic cloning. Recombinant cloning is the DNA that is needed can be transferred to a foreign cell host; this technology has been around since 1970 and is the process of making copies of a particular gene. Reproductive cloning is when the donor adult cell has its genetic material removed and replaced with the preferred genetic material as in the case with Dolly the Sheep. Therapeutic cloning is the process of using human embryos to treat disease or disabilities in humans. It is a hope that one day these calls can help people with heart disease, or paraplegics like Christopher Reeves who was a big supporter and lobbied to legalize this type of cloning.
Doctors and Scientists have issued formal statements advising against reproductive cloning of humans. U.S. Congress has considered the passing laws that could ban human cloning and the reasoning for this is due to the lack of understanding about reproductive cloning and inefficiency of cloning animals. Most attempts at cloning mammals ends in failure and those who are born alive are affected with large-offspring syndrome along with other debilitating conditions.
Cloning also impacts mental developments and due to so many unknown things associated with reproductive cloning an attempt to clone a human is considered to be dangerous and ethically irresponsible. Although we have no idea what the future may hold in these area's it would take a sound argument to cause this to happen so as of today human cloning is not a possibility.