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A sheep, horse, bull and many other mammals have been cloned.
Cloning is the future, like it or not. You can't stop progress.
I'm not really sure about cloning.......I have nothing against it per se, as long as it makes good sense but it is hard for me to see how it is justified. The process is very expensive.....I think it is still very ineffective, i.e. most of the cloned offspring dies, so I hardly see how anybody can justify it just to get a cow that is a good milk producer, for example.
There is one huge danger with cloning, which is that it could result in wiping out the genetic diversity in livestock. Normally when you have an outbreak of a disease, some animals are naturally resistant to it. Having genetically diverse animals makes it more likely that some will survive no matter what.
This is not a theoretical consideration. The Irish famine was caused by everybody growing the same type of potato, when the blight came, there was no resistance and the whole crop was wiped out.
One of the things that I don't like is how these things are taken over by big corporations, which then focus on using them on the products that will make them the greatest profit, rather than the products that humanity really needs.
Of course there is therapeutic cloning in humans, which I'm very supportive of, it has a lot of potential to cure all sorts of diseases. Reproductive cloning in humans- making human clones, is illegal at the moment and should remain so.
Why should cloning humans be illegal? Because of losing that genetic diversity? I can't swallow that - even if the species went the line of clones rather than mixing genes for everyone, it just means we keep the diversity we have rather than expand it. Plus, if we ever get to that point you can bet that there will be a lot of gene engineering going on at the same time.
Not that I disagree with you - I don't - but can't see any real reason not to clone ourselves, either.
To be perfectly honest, I would say the reason we should keep cloning illegal, is because it would probably drive a lot of people into hyperactive anti-science mode, and there is enough to fight right now with anti-GM food, anti-stem cell research, anti-science in general without making the situation worse. This is obviously a very cowardly reason.
More seriously I don't think the effects of cloning have been investigated enough. There is the fact that the clone is born with shortened telomeres, so its "genetic age" is that of the donor, rather than a newborn. I don't think the full implications of that are fully understood yet, although the team who created Dolly don't think this is the reason for her premature death.
Right now, cloning is very inefficient, most of the embryos made by nuclear transfer either don't survive, or develop abnormally. For most of them you can see that something's gone wrong very early on. But what about if the early embryo looks normal, and the abnormality only becomes obvious in the advanced foetus, or after birth?
I also think the people would want to clone themselves, or other people for completely the wrong reasons. Clones might actually end up being very different from the "original" even if they look the same. Nobody knows what the psychological effect on the cloned person would be, they might grow up with some weird complexes.
Incidentally I once went to a talk by John Gurdon (who cloned the first vertebrate animal, which was a frog, not a sheep, in the 1950s). At the end of the talk he asked an audience of scientist to vote on the following scenario:
A couple have a kid, but then find out they can't have other children. When he is 2 their child dies in an accident. They want to clone him. Should they be allowed to do that?
The scientists were split 50:50. Apparently Gurdon is often asked to lecture to priests about science and cloning, and he also asks them the same question. The priests vote for cloning 70:30. Which is surprising.
As to the human line going the way of cloning, rather than "mixing genes", as a general means of reproduction, I really can't see the point of that. Why do something so technically challenging when nature has figured out a very natural and quick way of doing it, that is a lot of fun as well.
Actually, I'm looking down the road a hundred years or more, when cloning could be easy. And the reason might well be that carrying a child and giving birth isn't easy at all, nor is it fun.
Single people could also have a child without need for anyone else being involved, a couple where one has a genetic defect could safely have children, etc. There are many reasons to clone, were it easy and effective. Of course "test tube" babies, never seeing a womb, are a part of the equation as well, and solve most of, if not all, the reasons here for cloning.
Ok I was really thinking about the near future.
Developing an "artificial womb" in which human embryos could be grown, making pregnancy unnecessary, wouldn't need cloning. You would just produce the embryos by in vitro fertilisation like you do for test tube babies now.
To be honest, even if all the technical problems were resolved, I can't really see many reasons for cloning on a general scale. To insure a healthy baby were one parent has a genetic defect, you can just screen embryos produced by in vitro fertilisation, to find one that doesn't have the defect. Ditto for producing siblings for transplants. This is already being done on a limited scale now.
Agreed. It seems the most likely reason for cloning might be to continue a dynasty (however small) of a huge ego. Someone that thinks they are the greatest thing to ever hit the earth and wants the earth to benefit from that.
Another, scary, reason is a supply of perfect "spare parts". Need a new liver or heart? Grab it from your clone - it's always available and you can make another one. The really ugly part is that there are people that would do that, too.
I don't see the connection between cloning and external gestation. It is much easier to add egg than sperm than to clone. And external gestation is not likely to be developed for quite a few centuries. In the meantime surrogates are a more likely mechanism.
Anyone who has a clone of themself as a child will probably soon be disappointed. The child will inevitably be very different from them in temperament due to all those experiences starting in the womb and cascading on from there.
I doubt that it will take several centuries; look at the state of medicine in 1913 vs today.
You're certainly right in that a clone will be different, though - there is an awful lot of "nurture" to mix in with that "nature".
I am, and when it comes to dealing with complete complex systems (as opposed to simple disease vectors) we still suck. We will be able to do external gestation at about the same time we can cure all cancers and all neurodegenerative conditions. I am sure I will not live to see it.
I have to agree that there are technological problems that haven't been solved (or even addressed) yet, and that must be before we try to create a human being.
I'm more concerned about the ethical and moral end of it at this point. If it's OK ethically those technical problems will be solved, if it's not then we should not even be trying to solve them. Except maybe for animals, and I don't have much problem there.
Interesting point about the scientists and priests - I'll have to think about what it means!
What arguments can even be made AGAINST cloning? I've gotta see this.
There is the humane argument that currently cloning has a failure rate (deformed babies) and that the clones themselves have shortened lifespans and poorer health than naturally conceived individuals.
What arguments can be made for cloning? If you read above, you will see that some arguments have already been made.
There are really three different things that we mean by cloning:
cloning animals, therapeutic cloning of humans (as a source of stem cells) and reproductive cloning of humans (to make human clones). They really need to be discussed separately. So far I am only unequivocally convinced by arguments for therapeutic cloning.
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