Cloning. The creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. It’s a highly controversial practise, leading the United Nations to issue a document stating, ‘Practices which are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings, shall not be permitted’. 77 countries agreed to it. Reproductive cloning would involve making an entire cloned human, whereas therapeutic cloning would involve cloning cells from a human for use in medicine and transplants. The reproductive kind isn’t legal in any country, and the therapeutic kind is only legal in Australia, the United Kingdom and India, who all are actively researching it. Whilst humans aren’t being cloned, many other animals are, with cloned animal meat regularly available in American supermarkets, often without the customer’s knowledge. Several experiments have created human clone hybrid embryos, but all were destroyed. However, several scientists, whom I imagine are perfect copies of Dr. Strangelove, have vowed to ignore the law and carry on regardless. So although no human clones officially exist, if these mad scientists are to be believed, clones are already among us…
Cloning would be a godsend for infertile couples. It can treat a large array of diseases, like those of the nervous system, spinal cord injuries and organ failure. It may even be able to regenerate whole limbs. It could replace defective genes. And could benefit cosmetic surgery. But on the other hand, cloning has a very low success rate. Over 90% of all cloning attempts have failed. Clones have weak immune systems and die quite easily. And what about the ethics involved?
Should we play God? With advances in technology, clones will be created to ‘replace’ an ageing man, a young, fresh and virile version. Is this an insult to what it means to be human? How would a cloned child fit in with society? A child with no parents, remember. How would all this cloning be regulated? And what of the destruction of an embryo?
The most famous clone is Dolly the Sheep, cloned from a mammary gland cell and so named Dolly because, in the words of the scientists, ‘we couldn’t think of a more impressive set of glands than Dolly Parton’s’. Well that’s a blow for feminists, isn’t it? It took 277 attempts to create the clone, which lived to six and a half. But contrary to popular belief, she did not die from being a clone, but from a common sheep illness. She had six lambs, and a heck of a legacy, a legacy that led to many other animals being cloned. Including the Pyrenean Ibex, which went extinct in 2000 but was brought back in 2009 thanks to cloning, the first extinct animal to be cloned. But if I could ‘do a Dolly’, would it be worth it?
What if it all goes tits up? I‘d have a clone to ‘deal with’. I couldn’t use one to do the dishes whilst I played video games, because I don’t like doing the dishes, and I’m pretty sure another me won’t, either. What if he steals my partner? What if he starts cloning himself until I’m overpowered and ‘disposed of’? Hmm? Yes, real dangers involved in cloning…
Everyone is unique. And that’s really special. A copy would devalue that, a clone of any human would devalue our humanity. Cloning humans, ‘reproductive cloning’, is very wrong. I find it unsettling. Remember, we’re not talking about therapeutic cloning, here. I can’t think of any pros to reproductive cloning. The world doesn’t like the me there is now. It doesn’t need another me. I just couldn’t clone myself. But what about you, readers?
Would you clone yourself?
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