GROUP IV The Social and Ethical Issues of Cloning By: Kirat Boparai, Gaurang Kumar, PriyaMenon, MagindaMagendrathajan, & NeeraSundaralingam
What is cloning? • Today, cloning would mean an "artificial, identical genetic copy of an existing life form" (UNESCO 2005)
Is cloning ONLY artificial? • NO • Identical twins are an example of natural cloning in humans. • Cloning is also found in naturally in asexual organisms. Organisms like hydra, earthworms and bacteria replicate by cloning.
The Process of Artificial Cloning • Stem cells are required for artificial cloning; adult cells cannot be used • Take an unfertilized cell • Remove the nucleus - the cell becomes enucleated • Somatic cells are split up and removed from a cluster that contains the cells of the donor • This is injected into the enucleated cell • The cell undergoes mitosis and becomes an embryo • The cell grows to become genetically identical to the donor
3 Types of Cloning • DNA Cloning: transfer of DNA from one organism to another asexual organism. It allows genetic diversity in species such as bacteria. The tiny pieces of DNA, called plasmids, are transferred through a bridge between the two organisms. • Reproductive Cloning: create a genetically identical organism using the cells/DNA of another previously existing animal • Therapeutic Cloning: harvesting stem cells from embryos to be used in treatments. It is used for understanding human development and creating cures for diseases that harm body cells (ex. leukemia). This is very controversial.
Examples of Reproductive Cloning • The first cloning occurred with frogs (scientists Robert Briggs and Thomas King) • The next huge cloning success was Dolly the sheep (1997). • After Dolly, animal cloning took a huge leap forward. There have been cloned pigs, cats, dogs, mules.
Ethical Issues • Animal cruelty. All the testing for the cloning starts with animals so that the chances of success are higher. However, can it really be considered cruelty if it is still an embryo? • Human cruelty. There is a huge controversy as to whether embryos and fetus’ are actually human. Since they are not yet born, can they be considered people?
Ethical Issues • Some people believe that it is inhumane to take cells from a growing embryo to use for cloning purposes. This is considered to be murder. • Most governments are of the same opinion and believe that cloning humans is unethical.
Ethical Issues • Genes make of 10% of DNA, the rest is just proteins and structure. If the inserted gene is placed in the extra area, it does not cause any problems. However, if the introduced genes lands with the original genes, that's when problems happen.
Ethical Issues • Can humans simply create life because we want to? This is very selfish. What happens when this new life is no longer wanted? • Will the clone be treated the same way as other people? How will the family and society react?
Ethical Issues • Normal twins face psychological problems and identity crises. How would a clone feel? They were created. What if they found out?
Ethical Issues • The success rate is apparently very small (less than 1,000 to 1). Can we risk a life? The science is not perfect and attempting a human clone is very risky. • Clones often die early. They suffer 'old age' symptoms at young ages and they may have memory problems. This could affect their everyday life.
Ethical Issues- Future Consequences • People will be encouraged to continue making copies of themselves, if it becomes commercial. Less reproduction. • Less familial ties. Encourages self-propogation. Decrease in social skills? • Designer babies? Genetically modified to suit our own tastes? • Deformations, mutations, abortions? Severe loss of human life.
Social Issues • People fear that it is going against nature to "create life". This is not just for religious reasons, there are also social implication for it. • How about the affects on the parents, family members and friends? How will they respond to the clone? Will the clone feel alienated?
Social Issues • There is a clash between the people who believe that science was discovered for advancement, and others who believe in leaving nature to make its own course. • There have been many rumours that scientists are beginning to create cloned humans for experimental purposes. That frightens the general public.
Social Issues • Different genes provide humans with diversity. Diversity from two different types of genes give humans the adaptive skills and stay protected from illnesses and diseases. This is what makes it possible for our immune systems to develop and not be harmed by our environments. Clones have identical genes, subjecting them to less protection from illnesses and hindering their ability to adapt.
Social Issues • In reproductive cloning, all beings of the species will be identical, meaning that each being is at risk of being infected by the same type of pathogen (a disease-producing agent like a virus or bacteria), So if that pathogen comes along, no one will be able to defend against it. • For example, if we were cloning humans, this sort of situation could be detrimental and cause great disasters • If the same genotype is being cloned then that same genotype would keep reproducing among themselves, leading to extinction
Social Issues • Infertile couples would clone babies for children, but whose parent gene would be used to make the child? This would lead us to decide which is more important, the mother or the father? • Society will encounter many difficulties in treating a cloned child • The government rejected cloned food because it was considered “artificial”. How would the FDA react to artificially created humans?
Social Issues • Clones of transgenic animals are intended to be bred which could act as surrogate mothers for human babies a human reproduction would take on the character of manufacture devalues human life • Men would no longer be necessary in reproduction. This would lead to huge social problems. • Transgenic pigs would probably be a better source of human organs for transplant, but debrained human clones could be of great benefit for pharmaceutical companies wanting humanoid models for testing of experimental drugs.
Statistics & Interesting Facts • Low success rates. Dolly was the only one out of 277 clones who lived. She is the first successfully cloned mammal. This is extremely unethical considering that the chances of survival are so slim. The person who cloned Dolly, Professor Ian Wilmut, decided that cloning will not be useful for medicinal purposes.
Statistics & Interesting Facts • In 2002, scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research discovered that in cloned mice, 4% of 1000 cells did not function normally. The cells were not mutated, but the genes were not expressed in the normal way.
Statistics & Interesting Facts • November 2001, a biotechnology company cloned human embryos for therapeutic research for the first time.
Statistics & Interesting Facts • It is common for cloned offspring to experience Large Offspring Syndrome (the clone is over-sized and has many disabilities: physical and psychological)
Statistics & Interesting Facts • "A person who places in a woman a human embryo which has been created otherwise than by fertilisation is guilty of an offence."Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 • 95% of all cloning trials do not work • In South Korea, they gathered 242 eggs from women. They used chemicals to stimulate mitosis. They gathered 30 blatocysts (100 cell clusters) which had identical DNA to the donors. They plan on using this method for therapeutic uses. Since the cells are genetically identical, they are less likely to be rejected by the immune system of the patient.
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