Review of cloning Essay

Out of every one hundred attempts to produce a successful cloned stem cell, there is only one successful event. (Human Genome Project 2009) This is a very poor success rate.  The money involved to help produce that one successful event involves the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There are many chances for failure and mutation.  Leaving the natural selection to Mother Nature is more of an economic and ethical way to handle the way scientist attempt to manipulate science.

The world is growing at a very fast rate.  Can the world handle the increased amount of people that are born or “produced” each year? Natural selection has been taken out of the equation and survival of the fittest is really the people who have the money to help them continue in life.  Cloning is an unethical and immoral decision; it is costly and goes against the rules of natural selection and survival of the fittest, it becomes nature verses science.

It had taken two hundred and seventy-seven implanted eggs to get one cloned sheep. (Palmer 2001)  This was when Dolly the sheep was born.  The simple task of cloning and creating a new life is not so simple.  There are many steps that need to done prior to creating a successful clone.   As reported in the London Daily Telegraph (2001) there are seven steps.  The first step, you need an unfertilized egg.  Second, you have to remove the DNA sequence from the nucleus of the egg.   The Scottish doctors simply sucked it out with a pipette.  Third, you need another cell, to fuse with the egg.  The cell can come from anywhere in the body.

Practically every cell contains the complete set of chemical instructions needed for creating the particular individual. Fourth, is to insert the desired cell into the egg.  The fifth step requires the fusion of the new cell with the egg.  This is a crucial step because this step “switches” on the cell’s DNA.  This step requires the application of a small electrical current.  It mimics the change that happens when sperm fertilizes an egg.  The sixth step is to implant the egg into the desired womb.  If successful then step seven happens, birth.  In the end you have an exact genetic duplicate of what you started with.  It has all of the genetic material, but the prenatal and post birth experiences are different.  You have a twin.

There are many things that can go wrong with any of these steps.  Even if there was a successful clone there has been documentation that there could be problems.  They could die in the womb before being born, or be born larger than normal, have defects such as lung and heart defects, or their immune system is not as efficient as it should be.  Some died shortly after birth related to infections. (Palmer 2001)  Mr. Palmer also goes on to say that this seems to happen because some of the genes do not get “switched “on  during the fifth step in the process.

 The studies from Japan have shown that may of the testing on mice have been born with poor health, die early and were abnormally large. (Human Genome Project 2009) These abnormalities do not come from mutations in the genes but maybe from changes in the normal activation or expression of certain genes.  This may also come from the donor cell, where the programming problems may arise. (HGP 2009)

Dolly the sheep lived to be six years old.  She was put down by lethal injection.  (The Lancet 2003)  There was also Matilda, the Australian sheep that was produced by the same technology.  She was put down at the age of three.  (The Lancet 2003)  Though, there didn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with Matilda, Dolly was diagnosed with cancer and arthritis.  Neither one appeared to have any other deficiencies.  It is known that each died before “normal” age for a sheep.   A normal sheep can live to be about eleven or twelve years old.  Though, they may have died before their natural time, they did give hope to scientist to cloning other mammals such as mice, rabbits, goats and pigs.

With this technology, scientists are talking about being able to clone other animals, such as one becoming extinct.  The process of cloning has its discomfort along with its failures.   To be able to even start with the process you need to harvest eggs to be used in the experiment.  This can involve pain and scaring to the female specimen that is being harvested.  It can involve medication administration and medical procedures.  It also takes collecting other cells that will be use to infuse with the donated eggs collected.  It was stated early that it took two hundred and seventy-seven eggs to produce one successful specimen to produce Dolly the sheep.  That is several eggs and procedures that some animal had to endure to have the eggs harvested.  Also, several procedures to have the cells harvested to use with the eggs collected.  Are we going to be able to sacrifice endangered species to be able to attempt to clone and keep them on the planet?  If we are able to clone the endangered animals then where does it end?  Do we attempt to find DNA and bring back the dinosaurs?  Dinosaurs were a vicious breed of animals.  To bring them back may be the extinction of humans.

  It has been noted that “Many of the cloned cattle and sheep that are born are much larger than normal and apparently normal clones may have some unrecognized abnormalities.  The high incidence of abnormalities is not surprising” (The Lancet 2003).  With this said, it was also noted by the author of The Lancet that “Our experience with animal cloning allows us to predict with a high degree of confidence that few cloned humans will survive to birth and of those the majority will be abnormal” (2003). To bring this to the human race would be irresponsible.

With some success of cloning, some technology has been use to attempt to clone stem cells for future research.  It is still controversial, but there has been studies done one using fetal stem cells to attempt to produce cures for humans.  There has been testing of embryos for tissue matching.  This was used to produce a child to help heal a sibling.  One such case was about a child in England that was born with Diamond Black fan Anemia, a condition that prevented him from creating his own red blood cells.  To survive he needed blood transfusion every three weeks and drug infusions every night.  He was cured by a transplant from the cells of the umbilical cord of his brother that was born to save him. (Baird 2007) He can now look forward to a normal healthy life and now the parents have two healthy children instead of one sick child.  This was a great discovery, but what will happen to other children that are born for a purpose to heal others?

With this we have now started designing babies.  We are creating others to help with the people who are here now.  I am sure that there are psychological issues involved with this.  When we start caring for another person so much that we produce children to cure them, then we are morally and ethically crossing some boundaries.  Left unaddressed people could attempt to create the perfect baby.   We start down this slope of eliminating embryos because they are diseased or undesirable.  We “look” at the embryos and determine if they are good enough or not for us.  With this technology we end up with super children.  We end up with people who could be better than everyone else and thus we end up discriminating against the “normal” people.  The lower class of people will suffer because they are unable to “engineer” their children to succeed better in life.  Tampering with genetics can result in undesired results.  There is always that unpredictable consequence that could negatively affect the human race.

Many of the procedures involved with cloning or stem cell research involve the destruction of an embryo.  Many people would disapprove of this kind of therapy.  Many people believe that life begins at conception.  When creating Dolly, one hundred seventy-six embryos died for one success.  Sheep are a lesser animal than a human is. Imagine if it were humans we were working on.  It is harder to create human cells to grow.  Maybe ten times harder, and then we would have destroyed hundreds or even thousands of embryos to create one good and productive growing cell.   All of this to produce the one perfectly developed clone.  Who is to say what will pass as perfect?  We go by standards of social beliefs.  Who is to say that our social standards will not change?

We have lived by the standards of natural selection for as long as life has been on Earth.  Nature has given us life and taken it away.  Man has created science to manipulate nature and man has decided who lives and who does not by using the medical field and now genetics.  Other species have died off because of natural selection and survival of the fittest.  Dinosaurs have died off because of nature.  Animals die all the time because of other animals chasing their prey.  This is where survival of the fittest comes into play.  The cave man have gone or evolved because of nature allowing us to mature and develop.  We have lived and died as time has passed on.  Now when the world have become populated or over populated in areas because of science or medical discoveries, when are we going to take care of the people we have now.  There are babies and children who do not have a home; there are adults that do not have a home.  There are people dying every day over senseless acts of violence. Why are we not taking care of the people who are here on Earth now?

The cost involved with the procedure to create a successful cloned stem cell is outrageously high. It can cost thousands of dollars to have one successful cell. It can take hundreds of procedures with embryos and cells to create one success.  We have become a society of creating designer babies. This goes against the natural selection of nature. Cloning stem cells takes out the equation of survival of the fittest. Taking a cell, removing the nucleus and replacing it with another type of cell are unethical and immoral. In reality we are only creating twins.  This is something that nature can do by itself now.

References

Baird,S. (2007)Designer Babies: Eugenics Repackaged or Consumer Options?[electronic version]

            Resources in Technology. 12-16.

Herper,M.(2001) Stem-cell Research,Cloning’s High Cost. Forbes.Retrieved May 24,2009, from

            www.forbes.com/2001/11/26/1126cloning.html.

Human Genome Project Informaion. (2009).Cloning Fact Sheet.Retrieved May 23,2009, from

            www.ornl.gov.sci.techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/cloning.shtml.

Goodbye Dolly…and friends?(2003,March 1) The Lancet,p.711.

Palmer,A.(2001)Dolly’s doctor hit cloning of humans. Deepscience.com. Retreived May 25,2009, from

            Http://www.deep science.com/articles/cloning.html.

Review

1.                  The introduction was effective because it outrightly indicates what the author is trying to stress in the paper. Providing statistics such as the one in every one hundred ratio was engaging since it indicates how the complicated and risky cloning is. It is important to indicate the success rate of cloning because this will lead the reader to have an impression on how far man has gone in order to propagate ideas on cloning and make it actually work. The ratio shows the success rate of man and the chances of living things being cloned or reproduced at the present age.

It is essential that readers be informed on this point so that they will know how to adequately react on cloning and the article itself. The entirety of the article tackles about of cloning so it would be beneficial to know what are the chances that this will work and achieve a success rate among those cloned. However, while this can be striking to those who have adequate knowledge on cloning, starting this way for those who have limited idea on cloning can be difficult. The readers may fail to appreciate the succeeding paragraphs particularly the studies concerning cloning. It would have been better if alongside the success rates, the author could have included some basic information regarding cloning for them to have a general idea of the subject.

2.                  The topic is interesting but it would have been better if the writer tried to highlight more on the different views on cloning, who holds these views and why do they cater such perceptions. Like in any movie or literary piece, the presentation of conflicting ideas and visions engages the reader over the material. What the writer did in this paper was present the pros and cons in a  very bland manner. He did not provide spice and excitement to it. It would have been better if he delved on the different issues on cloning deeply rather than merely mentioning them and discussing them superficially. For instance, the author indicated that there are moral and ethical issues involved in cloning but he did not expound on this matter.

In addition, it would have been better if the author tried to find sources which would back up his claims. The latter part of the paper had no citation thus, indicating that these were the claims of the author. A paper can have more authority if the claims indicated thereon have sufficient grounds to stand on. Mere opinion of authors specially if they are not experts in the field fails to gain credence and value to the readers and to society.

The paper would have been better if the author dealt with the topic holistically such as including the psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of cloning rather than limiting it to the physical and social aspects thereof.

3.                  The paper has a clear logical argument however, providing and argument is different from creating a persuasive one. While it is clear that the author is against cloning as there are physical and social side effects to it, this are not enough to persuade the reader to side with him. It would be best if the author provided opinions from well-experienced medical practitioners in the field. It would also be good to indicate why they think it to be that way and if there is any way cloning could or could not progress from the stage that it is currently in.

In order to persuade, there must be convincing proof that cloning is really not healthy for the human race and the animal kingdom. It is not enough that one says it is not neither is it sufficient to tell that many tests fail. Like any new technology or scientific process, the success rate is slim. It is a given fact that many tests would fail. It would have been more persuasive if the author stressed on the moral and ethical aspects of these failures.

4.

I. What is Cloning

II. Reasons for Cloning and Related Issues

III. Success Rate of Cloning and Reasons Thereof

IV. Positive and Negative Effects of Cloning

The author could use expert opinions and visions on this part.

V. Moral and Ethical Values of Cloning
There should have more information on this part since this is a crucial element in cloning. This might create a more persuasive effect on the paper.

VI. The Future of Cloning

I believe the paper would have been more logical if it was arranged in the manner indicated above. Through this way the reader can have a better direction and can easily flow in the path that the author is trying to take him. While it is striking that the author indicated in the first part of the essay the success rate of cloning this does not give the reader a general idea of the subject, why it happens and the effects thereof. It is best the reader first have an understanding of what is being talked about before he can appreciate the studies presented and the success and failures thereof.

5.                  In the second to the last paragraph of the article, the author posed the question on when will the people start caring for the people living on earth. I believe this is contradictory to the statements indicated in the other parts of the article. According to the author, cloning is being used by some in order to cure certain abnormalities and imperfections to some for them to live better. Taken in this aspect, is cloning not one of the ways of taking care of the present human race?

I also find contradictory the author’s claims regarding the process of cloning. First the author indicated that cloning can be undertaken by retrieving eggs from the animals tha5t will be cloned if this is the case then how will the claim of reproducing dinosaurs and extinct species be even possible?

6.                  My favorite aspect of the paper was the part indicating the different cloning experiments and the results thereof. I find this engaging since it mirrors how far scientists have gone in order to meet the purpose of cloning despite the odds that they had to face.

The conclusion indeed made me want for more since the author indicated that cloning is costly, however, no exact figures were indicated. I am interested to know how much cloning actually costs and how cloning can actually lead to the creation of designer babies.

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