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Cloning Embryos – Is a cloned baby far behind?

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Since the birth of the cloned sheep Dolly in 1996 the world has been gripped in shock and awe waiting to see if human cloning would ever become a reality. Recently in the news a team of Korean scientists took genetic material from normal cells in women donors and combined it with their eggs. The resulting 30 embryos were grown to produce stem cells that can divide into any tissue in the body. The theory is cells can be used to replace ones that have failed in diseased patients.

    “Human cloning activist Randolfe Wicker can hardly contain his excitement. A gay man who has long wanted to reproduce himself through cloning, Wicker was thrilled to learn last week that a team in South Korea had created 30 robust human embryos–the first persuasive case of human cloning. It’s about time! Somehow, somewhere, one of them is bound to be implanted into a woman’s womb, exclaims Wicker, laughing with glee, and then you know what will happen.”

    “Many people, like President Bush, want to stop all human cloning, even for research, because of a moral objection to destroying embryos and a fear that maverick fertility doctors might adopt researchers’ tricks to create babies. A bill that would ban all cloning has bogged down in Congress, and a similar ban has faltered in the United Nations. That’s because other folks–including Sen. John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee for president–want to permit research cloning while forbidding baby making.

Question:

    Is mankind meddling in nature’s affairs where it doesn’t belong, or is this the next logical step in our evolution?

    Has pandora’s genie been removed from the bottle or is it a boon for medicine?

    Are we playing God or does religion not have any say in the matter?

    Should cloning be banned or allowed under strict regulation?

Tough questions for a controversial time.

This post and other fine reading also appeared at BlogBloke.com

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  • Eric Olsen

    I am 100% for “therapeutic” cloning, 90% against “reproductive.”

  • http://www.blogbloke.com BB

    Being the busybody that I am Eric, what is the 10% you are in favour of reproductive cloning?

  • Eric Olsen

    The strongest reason I have for being against it is that the clone always seems to be defective in some way – if they could “fix” that it would lessen my concerns, but my hunch is they will never be able to “fix” the inherent defectiveness of clones.

  • JR

    Is mankind meddling in nature’s affairs where it doesn’t belong,…

    You mean more so than artificial insemination or choosing the sex of babies? Or for that matter, destroying natural habitats, changing the composition of the atmosphere and driving several species into extinction?

    Cloning is a blip on the screen compared to all the other “meddling” we do.

    or is this the next logical step in our evolution?

    Actually it’s not evolution at all, it’s sort of the opposite isn’t it?

    The next step in our evolution is probably either genetic modification of human beings or acting as the catalyst in the evolution of machine-based “life”. Maybe both.

    Has pandora’s genie been removed from the bottle or is it a boon for medicine?

    Yes.

    Are we playing God or does religion not have any say in the matter?

    No. Well, I guess the first part depends on your definition of God.

    Should cloning be banned or allowed under strict regulation?

    Does it matter? Drugs are banned, doesn’t have much effect.

    I believe we have laws that are supposed to protect the well-being of experimental subjects. Clones should be protected by those laws, to the extent that if medical experimenters screw up and create a clone who lives in constant pain, those doctors should be prosecuted. In my opinion, we should be more concerned about the potential to cause unnecessary pain than about cultural taboos. So I guess my answer is yes to the second part of the question.

    Let’s keep in mind that a successful clone would be like an identical twin (those already exist) except less similar to the genetic donor than a twin would be. (The clone would develop under different conditions than the original, for instance a different womb and most likely a different diet.) Since the clone would be years behind the original, you’d never confuse the two people.

    Other than creepy narcissists, it’s unclear who would want to clone themselves. And would they be any more disturbing than Michael Jackson already is?

  • duane

    Hear, hear, JR.

    “Is mankind meddling in nature’s affairs where it doesn’t belong…?”

    Where would the line be drawn? Is it God’s will that you might have a headache. Are those little white pills part of God’s plan? Why would God give you a headache in the first place? If God is omnipotent and omniscient, then He purposely gave mankind the knowledge to make aspirin tablets, the bottles, and the little cotton wad, not to mention the labeling, the trucks that transport the aspirins to market, etc.

    Humans have always meddled with Mother Nature. Why stop now?

  • Jonathan

    What’s the worst that could happen?
    *waits for someone to refer to a scary clone movie*

  • http://www.clonerights.com Randolfe Wicker

    What always amazes me is the abundant self-hate that emerges in any debate about cloning.
    I have asked individuals what they thought of cloning themselves. Some have shrieked in horror at the idea.
    What is so horrible about the idea that a later-born twin of yourself would be born? The world seems to have survived your being here. Would the world suffer if your genotype were to live on into another lifetime?
    And why is someone instantly labeled as being narcisstic, virtually a psychopath, for wanting to be cloned? Why is that so different from “living on through one’s children” which seems to be a very respectable desire. Are we all supposed to want to die “completely” and leave no trace on the face of the Earth?
    No thanks. You all can go diving into the grave, disintegrate in a few generations-50%, 25%, 12.5%,6.25%,3.125%,1.62% etc.-till virtually no trace of your genotype remains. I think I would like to keep the formula that is me up and running, enhanced each generation with genetic engineering so the basic me would just get better with the passage of time while you “happily” fragment into oblivion. Goodbye. Enjoy Heaven and/or Hell. I’m planning on staying here on Earth for as long as possible.
    Cloningly yours, rhwicker@optonline.net
    http://www.clonerights.com

  • karen

    Isnt there enough human beings in the world with out populating it even more unnaturally