The replication of human beings through technological means has long been a subject of popular science fiction novels. Today as in many instances science has caught up with science fiction. We are told we now have the ability to improve the overall quality of life through genetic engineering.
We will soon be able to enhance our own intelligence, whether its through a chip implanted in the brain to make one smarter or have the blind see, and the deaf hear, or by gene splicing to give what is missing or correct what is flawed. Can wisdom enhancing agents be built in man that would have him go beyond any natural capabilities many say yes.
This new technology will not just affect a few people. It will directly affect the whole world we live in, as this technology will dominate the new century if allowed. Science allowed us previously to arrange the building blocks of life, now we can add or subtract them.
We now hear of Head transplants in monkeys, headless frogs, cloned sheep, designer humans, we are entering a very different world now. Nuclear transfer has been done before (which is a clone from the Nucleus of an adult cell), it was performed successfully on tetra, a primate who recently made the news. Most of us have not considered the ramifications of this new science breakthrough that is just now making the news. Eventually we will have to make up our minds about how we feel about cloning. I'm in no position to speak scientifically on these matters but I have looked at what is being said and for us to think through the ramifications of what will soon occur
We first heard about this from Scientists in Scotland that had successfully cloned a sheep called Dolly, the first mammal to be reproduced identically from the artificially manipulated cells of a donor mammal. Since Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996 scientists have been going further with their DNA research.
But Dolly was not the first mammal ever cloned in a lab. Many others, including rhesus monkeys, have been cloned from one, two, and four-celled embryos. Dolly was the first mammal cloned from adult cells, which is a more difficult achievement scientifically than embryonic cloning.
The researchers in Scotland responsible for Dolly have plainly stated that they see no reason to pursue human cloning and are personally repulsed by the idea. But not all feel the same way and many would like to see this funded for numerous reasons because they believe its beneficial. We all know that every technology has the ability for abuse even though it was invented for good. But good intentions will guarantee nothing This is one of those things that if allowed can have a more disastrous affect than the atom bomb, if not controlled. But who will control it?
In Scotland, sheep with human genes produce a drug-to treat cystic fibrosis. In the United States, arctic flounder genes have helped tomatoes resist frost. These do have benefits, but then we have Glow-in-the-dark mice scampering around labs in Japan, their bodies hosting DNA from fluorescent jelly-fish. I guess this will help to catch mice in the dark.
In USA weekend Oct.1--3 1999 the question was asked Is Jurassic park coming true? entombed in Siberian permafrost for 20,000 years, a well-preserved woolly mammoth may soon prove extinction is only temporary.
The ancient mammoth is to be dug out and sent to an underground laboratory and “, a group of researchers will - cue the Jurassic Park soundtrack - attempt to extract DNA that eventually could be used to clone the seven-ton animal.”
Larry Agenbroad, a mammoth expert from Northern Arizona University “There are very good odds of finding intact DNA”.
Using the same technique that produced Dolly, scientists might inject the nucleus from a mammoth cell into an elephants egg, then zap it with electricity to jumpstart cell division. Next step: Implant the mammoth embryo into a surrogate elephant mother.
“There's tremendous potential to re-create an animal that existed with humans” in prehistory, says Agenbroad. And where might such an animal call home ? one possibility- an ice-age preserve called Pleistocene Park under construction in Siberia.
Still skepticism reigns in the scientific community. “The likelihood [of cloning an extinct species) is very low, but one should never say never,” says Rob DeSalle, a molecular biologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “Ten years ago, scientists didn't think cloning mammals was possible.”
The mammoth may be only the first animal to rise from a dead species. In Australia and New Zealand, researchers are rounding up preserved specimens of an extinct tiger and Huia bird in a quest for viable DNA.
The last Spanish mountain goat in the world was killed by a falling tree but not to worry they are going to clone him. What this means is there may be no more endangered species. If they are successful with a Clone sample from a wooly mammoth or any of these, what next? What if they were to clone what they call cro magnon man should they clone him to see what they were like. There has even been talk of cloning the Shroud of Turin. On the Art bell show Malachi Martin was asked about this and he stated this could be the 2nd coming. Hardly, but something to seriously consider in the quest for cloning humans.
An Internet poll asking “should humans be cloned?”
Current Poll Results:Yes: 49% (892 Votes) No: 51% (897 Votes)
We are split on its usage, But do we know what its hidden potentials and dangers are?
Stephen Grebe: professor of biology, at American University- “We’re going to be facing this issue with humans... With that possibility open, I’m concerned without safeguards that this will become a reality. It may very well already be.”
A biotech company called Advanced Cell Technology announce it has created the first human embryos ever to be produced in cloning. This was Nov.2001( Bush Wants Human Cloning Banned” Ginsa Kolata, The New York times on the Web Nov.26, 2001) If it cannot happen where it is illegal, they will certainly find a place where it is legal to do there New science.
We do know cloning occurs naturally Identical twins are an example, One in 67 births is twins. Identical twins are produced when a fertilized egg divides for the first time not remaining as a single organism, splitting into two independent cells. However each twin has his or her own distinct intellectual, emotional, psychological, and spiritual life. No twin considers themselves a carbon copy of someone else, they are individuals that enter different occupations, live different lifespans, get different diseases, They are shaped by their own likes and dislikes. Some say this is what clones would be like but we really don't know.
Solving the Food Problem
Departing from genetic engineering in humans there are other ideas that many consider advantages. In a meeting the British Association delegates heard from scientists predictions of apples with antibodies that fight against tooth decay and crops that would glow when thirsty or diseased.
German scientists in Basle have already made fruit flies with extra eyes on their wings, antennae and legs, and scorpion poison genes have been added by Oxford geneticists to cabbages to kill caterpillars.
Monsanto has developed potatoes with bacterial insecticide genes to destroy Colorado beetle, and ESCA Genetics has made coffee beans with low caffeine, high aroma and pest resistance.
Genetic Engineering on Foods
Experimentation was done to find a more effective way to reproduce already genetically engineered sheep for production of pharmaceuticals. Sheep can be genetically engineered to produce a certain human protein or hormone in its milk. The human protein can then be harvested from the milk and sold on the market. Scientists take the human gene for the production of this protein or hormone and insert it into an early sheep embryo. Hopefully the embryo will grow into a sheep that will produce the protein. Edinburgh scientists have made a whole series of identical sheep, with the potential to create a flock of thousands of perfect clones.
The first transgenic mammals were born in 1976. There are now reported 60,000 artificially mutated animals born in the UK each year. Many of these creatures are said to contain a unique blend of genes from two or three species.
Some have been made by adding human genes to make them grow faster, or to turn their bodies into human medicine factories, or to make organs suitable for transplant. We could be setting ourselves up for agricultural and ecological disasters.
If we cloned animals or fruit for food and a large percentage of a nation's cattle were clones, if it were attacked by a virus it could effect the entire population or foods at one time. The result could be catastrophic food shortages in that nation if they depended on them. But with this research they could change the gene structure in the animal or food to be inoculated against it.
Nexia Biotechnologies in Canada cloned Three goats their next step is to use cloning to create goat that secretes spider silk gene in milk, commercial goal is to make Bio-Steel the strongest, toughest fiber in the world, (tensile strength 300,000 pounds per square inch.) Stronger and lighter than steel or polymers, uses could be artificial tendons or ligaments and other bio-degradable structures in medicine. First cloned goats with new gene will then be breed conventionally (reported by Reuters April 28, 1999).
There is now an enormous amount of gene altered food. In Europe crops have been torn up and stores have banned these products. In the US the stores want to carry biotech foods but the US government refuses to put labels on them. Up to 70% of the foods on shelves are genetically modified to improve flavor and shelf life (replacing preservatives, BHA and BHT ). The maker of Gerber foods recently dropped using genetically modified crops in its products. The nations two largest natural food chains are asking the FDA to label these genetically altered foods so they can be identified and kept out of health food stores.
Lets Look at Some of the Ideas on the Table
Here is where Cloning can be abused for health - Clone the child, keep the frozen twin available in case for when the original twin needs a transplant of some organ. There would be no rejection the tissues would match perfectly.
Artificial twins could be kept frozen as an insurance policy even after the original child is born. If the original child dies at an early age, a frozen twin could be thawed, and the parent would have the identical child to raise again. This may sound good to those who may grieve over their loss, having a replacement will fill the void of having no child.
Here is where Cloning can be abused for convenience. It would allow a women to have one set of identical twins without going through two pregnancies. The women may not want to disrupt her career, or would prefer to only have one child at a time. With cloning it would be assured that they would be identical. It would make things more convenient. A matter of fact a woman can clone a child put it on ice and take it out any time she pleased. If her pregnancy was inconvenient she can abort and take up where she left off years later. What kind of an identity crises would someone have to find they were not the original and a carbon copy a carbon copy from a lab an extra.
What happens where children are no longer loved and valued for who they are? We see this already with abortions, will this be any different? Many teenagers even adults struggle with the expectations of the culture to have the perfect image in the size and shape of their bodies. Will society influence everyone to have a certain ultimate look, or ability and reject those who do not! One question leads to another
Clones Rights United Front founder Randolfe Wicker, “We’re fighting for research, and we’re defending people’s reproductive rights... I realize my clone would be my identical twin, and my identical twin has a right to be born.” This argument fails in that it was not a natural occurrence, he was not born in the true sense. Does this mean whatever we can make from another human being has as much rights as we do? Maybe more.
The bible teaches that reproduction is after each kind. God made an order to the species and a certain way for it to occur. Today scientists have the ability to not only change the species, they now have the ability to create a whole new species. Through Genetic engineering we are able to create something that has never been in nature before.
Critic Jeremy Rifkin called for an immediate ban on human cloning, urging it be classed a crime on par with “rape, child abuse and murder.” A spokesman for the lab that created the clone stated that animal cloning necessarily would lead to human cloning.
History has proven whatever can be thought of can eventually be done . what is forbidden now will become a normality of life later, especially if there is money to be made. Under scientific advancement the Pandora's box is open.
Should this technology be left up to the population to vote by their pocketbooks (considering our sin nature, we would want to make ourselves perfect people. Laws have always lagged behind the technology as the product is marketed. We are never ready for the technology whether its guns, nuclear. There is no way for the laws to catch up with how fast science is progressing today. Yet many Scientist are excited as they see the potential for all kinds of possibilities.
Supporters of cloning feel the technological benefits of cloning for humanity outweigh any of the possible social consequences. As long as research is carefully done. We can all have an improvement in our quality of life. But do we want to roll the dice on this issue. Once its rolling it will be very hard to turn back , it could be a mistake of dire consequences.
No one wants to die. Bio-engineering is pursuing to understand the basic building blocks of life, they are pursuing knowledge that only God knew. Dr. Richard Seed, one of the leading proponents of human cloning technology, suggests that it may someday be possible to reverse the aging process because of what we learn from cloning.
If they can mutate a few genes they can prolong life immensely and postpone the penalty of sin.
Science has identified that the average person carries 8 defective genes inside them. These defective genes allow us to become sick when we would normally remain healthy. With the technology of human cloning it may be possible to ensure that we no longer suffer because of our defective genes. We could have optimum health.
There was a court case where a child was denied health insurance because of what is in his gene pool, he was not at risk now but could be in the future.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and several other industrialized countries. Scientists believe that they may be able to treat heart attack victims by cloning their healthy heart cells and injecting them into the areas of the heart that have been damaged. This can mean no more surgery for cures. Cloning may replace organ donors as the compatibility would be close to 100%. Surgery as we know it may change. It may look very crude after we venture into this new science.
Cloning research may contribute to treating diseases by allowing scientists to reprogram cells. The benefits of cloning could provide spare parts ones liver cells, or eye cells, or bone cells, hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys could be produced. Embryonic stem cells can be grown to produce organs or tissues to repair or replace damaged ones. If any of body parts failed or were injured they can be replaced. Limbs for amputees may be able to be regenerated. Burn victims could receive new skin. Brain cells for the brain damaged, spinal cord cells for quadriplegics a paraplegic could be cloned, get a new body ending their paralysis. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart failure, degenerative joint disease, diabetes, and other problems may become curable if human cloning and its technology are not banned. Sounds good on paper but…
Take for example Jesse Gelsinger was born with ornithine transcarbamoylase (OTC) deficiency, a rare metabolic disorder that disables the liver and causes a toxic buildup of ammonia. He volunteered for gene-therapy program last September at the University of Pennsylvania because gene therapy had been hailed as the new frontier of medicine. The experiment entailed patients injected with corrective genes to replace the missing or defective ones. The purpose was a commendable one, to save lives. Within 24 hours after Jesse received his first infusion, he was suffering from a life-threatening clotting disorder which red blood cells were breaking down faster than the liver could metabolize them. He now is known as the first patient to die directly from the result of gene therapy. His father who encouraged him to do this said to a senate subcommittee investigating this that he was not given all the information. Such as side effects and that lab monkeys have died during the same experiment. (Death by research People 2/21/2000)
Cloning animals for medicines, organs, and body parts to benefit ill or injured humans is a humane concept, but does the means justify the end. Are we playing God? We could possibly expand the human lifetime to double or even a thousand years if one keeps replacing what fails. It may be the golden age of mankind that is found in ancient myths and legends, but it will not be the Millennium of the bible.
We are allowed by law to fix flaws or failures in our human body but we are not allowed to expand it beyond its basic natural capabilities. So why not? We already receive spare kidneys from family members and parts from other humans like a liver or a heart to save a life, so what can be wrong with taking a cell from ones own body to have a perfect match.
A Cloned cell as a replacement for a body part is certainly not a human person, but it does open the door. As we all know once the door is open the envelope gets pushed further in time.
gene therapy can be done by having the genes are changed in the embryo so when the person develops it will contain the new genes. Designer genes will not be something you wear but something you are. Some believe that if a parent wanted to produce talents in a child similar to his own, they can clone the DNA from the cell of the adult that may produce a child with the same traits. You can call them designer children. Clones that are derived from an existing adult cell, that has older genes. What will life be to a cloned son looking at his dad and know he is his exact twin? The cloned son will know how tall he will be, whether he will be bald at 30, what are the hereditary flaws he has and will know what talents he possesses, unless there is gene tampering.
Supporters of cloning feel that with controlled research, the technological benefits of cloning clearly outweigh any of the possible social consequences, but do they outweigh the scientific dangers? The applications of cloning is seen as humanitarian Cloning could stop parents who risk passing their defects to a child. A fertilized ovum could be cloned, and the duplicate would be tested for disease and disorder of the original. If the clone is found free from any defects, then other would be as well. But what if it is found defective? Will it be destroyed for a more optimum fetus or will it be fixed?
Through Genetic research and use of this technology the advantage of curing diseases and its ability to treat and cure genetic flaws diseases is an ethical goal. But the potential to Create new species with gene splicing is not. Serious questions about the ethical legitimacy and potential abuses surround this new science. Its likely that the answers will not come quickly, but will research will continue.
When the Sunday Times reported that British scientists have created a frog embryo without a head.
Dr Patrick Dixon, a leading authority on the ethics of human cloning, author of “The Genetic Revolution” which forecasted the cloning of animals, predicted “Headless human clones will be used to grow organs and tissues for transplant surgery in the next 5-10 years.” The technique used to create the headless frog could be adapted to grow human organs such as hearts, kidneys, liver and pancreases in an embryonic sac living in an artificial womb,
We are at the door of doing anything we want. Now people who may be dying
can possibly get another body that was dead and make it alive by transplanting
their head Right now we can freeze a body (cryonics) and we can even
surgically remove a (monkeys )head and put it on another body. So when a
persons body wears out they can have a cloned xtra and remove their head and
transplant it onto the clone. The potential is that one can live forever as
long as long as the bodies parts keep coming.
What happens if the original person dies, the clone can take his place. How many copies can be made, 1 to 5 or even10 its all left up to us. Parents who have a child die could recover them by recovering the cells from their dead child’s body. Appealing and possibly comforting but it can never give back the original lost child. The clones environment may change their personality even though they have the same genetic makeup as the original. In other words they may look the same but be a completely different person on the inside, if we can actually call them a person. Are they artificial, or genuine a human. What about their soul? Will they have one (Spirit). How do we reconcile what God made as a family unit now being dispensed with. This truly will be future shock, now.
One could literally make replacements for people and produce a whole new society. They can be automatons that do the work, while we their creators enjoy ourselves, the possibilities are endless for both good or bad.
This new population could be susceptible to the same diseases, and one disease could devastate the entire population if we are all clones having the same exact genes. Maybe the variety of man with all our flaws was included in Gods wisdom.
What of Infanticide? In India four million they're missing young girls because peasants have sonograms. China had to ban them. Will everyone choose males and no females. They may have men with no grand children. Do we remove the process of conception that was God given in the marriage relationship. This new science may well affect marriage as we know it.
If cloning is allowed for humans, there would be no genetic need for men, they can be replaced. All of us can be replaced because we would be an inferior product to the new an improved one.
If we mess with the DNA there is not telling what we can turn ourselves into. “Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman, born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles. Not yet 5, he can hold seven-pound weights with arms extended, something many adults cannot do. He has muscles twice the size of other kids his age and half their body fat.
DNA testing showed why: The boy has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth. New England Journal of Medicine, represents the first documented human case of such a mutation...” story onsuperbaby
Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy Maryann Mott National Geographic
News January 25, 2005.