Cloning has always been a topic of extreme interest and controversy all along. However, it became public news when Dolly the sheep was first cloned in 1997 in Ireland as it raised a hue and cry over human cloning. Ever since, there has been worldwide interest and concern because of the scientific implications that cloning could pose.
Cloning is defined as the creation of an exact genetic copy of an organism so much that each of their DNA would also match. There are different types of cloning viz. DNA cloning, reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Dolly, the sheep was cloned through reproductive cloning method. While the first two methods deal with transferring the DNA of interest from donor cell to an organism of interest, therapeutic cloning actually deals with the production of human embryos for use in scientific research to treat deadly diseases and create stem cells for studying the human makeup. Of late, everyone has woken up to the truth and wonder of stem cell research which is the best gift any parent could offer for their newly born child. Stem cells are collected at the time of birth and then preserved to later treat diseases in the child if any, or for the child’s siblings. Stem cell research is currently a hot research topic as well as medical advancement.
Scientists believe and advocate several advantages of human cloning. They say it would aid in treating deadly diseases like heart attack, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, brain cells, skin treatment for burns victims etc. Also it is supposed to help reverse aging process in human beings which is another kind of a revolution. Cloning could also pose as a blessing for infertile couples and help them have children in a natural way. With cloning, it is also possible for scientists and doctors to reproduce human tissue, fat and cartilage for use in cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery or in treating deformations and accident victims. Then it would no longer need the use of foreign materials to be inserted within the body and cause it to give way to side effects. Cloning technology can also be used in detecting defective genes in the body of a person and use it to remove or treat them so as to help the person be safe from any kind of diseases arising for these genes. It is also possible to permanently cure them from genetic disorders. All these advantages and foresight is possible only when human cloning is not banned and scientists are allowed to research with this subject freely.
A lot of religious organizations have objected to human cloning citing ethical and scientific implications it could have on the society and mankind. Some see a potential of human abuse and devaluation of human life through cloning as they feel scientists may go overboard in their research and will not think twice before destroying an embryo or a clone simply because it doesn’t adhere to all standards. Because of a few organizations in the society that strongly protest against human cloning, this technology has been banned ever since 1997 and only now has Stem cell research come into the picture which is a form of therapeutic cloning. Since this is used for the benefit of mankind, we can only pray that people don’t mistake stem cell research for anything wrong and stop further research.