Medical breakthrough or step too far - Sample Essay

Cloning is defined as making multiple copies of a DNA sequence, or making a clone of a organism (clone meaning “A cell, group of cells, or organism that are descended from and genetically identical to a single common ancestor, such as a bacterial colony whose members arose from a single original cell”)(1). The act of cloning is carried out everyday in a human, plant or animal body.

Cells undergo mitosis (which is cell division where the DNA is copied into the “daughter” cell to create a exact copy of itself, unless there is mutation) so they can heal the body. In Bacteria they multiply by Mitosis as well, but most often more quickly than in animal cells, making them a problem since they are harmful to the Body. Is cloning unnatural?

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Well, cloning can occur naturally in a greenhouse, the only interference being that of the owner “pruning” a shrug and planting the twigs in another pot and allowing them to grow as well, the “offspring” being exactly identical to its parent plant in every way, down to the DNA. This is only the example of the plant world, some other organisms reproduce asexually (this being the act of reproduction without the need of another organism, effectively cloning themselves), and their offspring having an identical genetic code to its parent, bacteria are a good example as explained above.

Examples in the Animal kingdom have many different types of asexual reproduction, jellyfish “bud” off their parent, developing as a growth on the parent and eventually detach to become an independent organism, parthenogenesis is when females produce eggs without the fertilisation from a different sex, these eggs developing into organisms by themselves, this is sometimes forced on creatures by an infection from a bacteria, a wasp that is infected produces diploid eggs, which form into other females.

The final Example of asexual Reproduction in animals is by fragmentation, when worms break apart into 7 or 8 pieces, each piece becoming a separate organism. (6) Injecting DNA into egg cell: What are the Uses of cloning? There is a varied use for cloning in science. In Bacteria, scientists modify the circular DNA to produce insulin, which is used for diabetics, and place it back in the bacterial cell, the cell then produces bacteria and multiplies by mitosis in an industrial fermenter where the clones can be extracted and downstream processed to remove the insulin and use it in humans for treatment.

Other uses for cloning is genetically modifying plants to reproduce quicker, and produce larger yields, which saves time on selective breeding in these cases. Possible future uses for cloning are the cloning of individual body parts so they can be transplanted into humans whose own ones are failing, this advantage being that there would be little or no chance of the organ being rejected as it is the same genetic material of the patient. The cloning of entire humans could be possible too for this purpose. (5)

How do you clone organisms? This is a difficult process as there is only one method really available to scientists at the moment. You would have to extract a cell from the original organism and place it into the egg cell of the species in question (if the donor of the DNA is male, if not then the females eggs can be used for this purpose), then stimulated into growth inside the egg cell, eventually producing a clone. This has been achieved in sheep and a couple of other animals but has never been achieved in humans.

Reasons for the lack of progress in human cloning is because some people object to it on either religious or moral arguments, and so it was ruled as illegal by the law due to the outcomes of the experiment, and also the very low success rate. (5) What are the Arguments against Cloning? The arguments against cloning are vared depending on whether they come from a religious front or a purely unbiased account. One of the arguments states that with cloning introduced there would be a reduced variety in the genetic pool, resulting in the population becoming extinct faster.

Other arguments say while the objectives of cloning research may be laudable (good), the resulting effect on society may be very different from that which they would have expected and highly undesirable also causing social unrest. Religious arguments are all the same in that they argue that life is “God-given” and human life should only be created within sexual congress. Other groups fear that cloning could lead to the result known as “designer babies” where parents choose what their child looks like and other attributes like being naturally sporty down to what colour their hair is if scientists work out what genes control which attribute.

Final arguments include the desire for rich people to make a clone of themselves so that they could, at least in body, “live forever”, the morals over cloning humans just for the body parts that they contain and what to do with the failed experiments, or the clones that have been used for the purpose of transplant or treatment of disease. (2) What are the Arguments for cloning? There are a host of benefits that could result from cloning including improvements in food supplies and the advancement of medical research and treatment of otherwise fatal human disease/conditions.

Some of the main arguments for cloning are that it could provide babies for infertile couples who wish to have children but cannot do so on their own, Clone pets or rare species for the preservation of the species involved, reproduce expensive breeding animals before they die so that they can sustain food production, and the transplant of hearts and other organs so potentially life threatening injuries could be easily avoided.

(4) Conclusions that can be drawn from these arguments are that further research needs to be made in order for cloning in humans to effectively and efficiently take place with minimal, or even no risk of DNA being damaged or mutated so that the clones will be useless. Until that time Cloning should continue on under research until it is legal to test the process on humans. Resource list: 1.

Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 2002 2. http://afgen. com/clon17a. html 3. Cloned stem cells may give new lease of life, Sylvia Pagi?? n Westphal, New Scientist, November 02 4. http://www. reproductivecloning. net/Articles/rebuttal. html 5. Advanced Biology, Michael Kent, 2000, pages 408 & 409 6. http://users. rcn. com/jkimball. ma. ultranet/BiologyPages/A/AsexualReproduction. html.



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