Cloning has been a hot topic since 1997 when Dolly the sheep was created. Cloning a human would be theoretically possible with todayâ€™s science, but there are many ethical complaints and possible dangers to the cloned person that could conceivably arise. Because of this, human cloning may not happen in the near future.
Many people wonder when cloning will be possible. The answer to this question might surprise you: itâ€™s already happening. Cloning dates back a long time; plant cloning was possible decades ago. The cloning of animals is a bit more recent. Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned back in 1997. We currently have the technology and ability to clone humans, but there are quite a few ethical matters that have come into play, and this is the reason why human clones have not yet been produced.
Cloning comes in two forms: reproductive cloning, and therapeutic cloning.
Reproductive cloning is what most people think of first. This is when an egg cell is transplanted into a uterus in order for the mother to give birth to an identical genetic match of the original egg donor. This is not like cloning in the science fiction sense where adult humans are duplicated in an assembly line fashion. It is a slow process, and to the naked eye there is little difference between this type of cloning and a natural birth. The cloning takes place at the genetic level, but otherwise, the birth is delivered in the typical fashion.
Therapeutic cloning is done in a laboratory setting. A fertilized egg cell grows within a Petri dish in order to produce stem cells that can be used for medical purposes. The uses of therapeutic cloning are still being investigated, but this shows a lot of promise for treating many diseases. AIDS is one such disease that might be able to be treated with this gene therapy. By treating diseased and damaged genes and replacing them with healthy genes, there is the potential to fight diseases at the sub-cellular level. Science is still developing in this area, but there is a lot of promise for the future.
As mentioned above, there are some ethical concerns here, not only to cloning humans, but to cloning animals as well. Many religious organizations have spoken out against this, stating that the creation of new life should be the sole responsibility of God. Another major concern is the right to oneâ€™s own genetic data. Cloning an individual would transfer the genetic data to someone else, and could conceivably be construed as a violation of rights.
Cloning a human is a definite possibility at this point in time, but it will likely not become a reality in the near future. There are just too many obstacles in the way to allow an organization to go ahead with this process. Also, there are still some problems that have crept up. Many organisms that have been cloned (particularly mice)Â have shown genetic abnormalities. Some cloned mice have been born apparently normal, but they developed problems later on in their lives. These include liver failure, premature death, and chronic pneumonia. Until these problems are completely cleared, a cloned human is not only potentially unethical, it could be a measure in unintentional cruelness as well.