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Cloning, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 876

Research Paper

Introduction

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the concept of Genetic Engineering and that of cloning. This paper argues in favor adopting legal control to control the process of Genetic Engineering being controlled by law.  Any new science requires ethical boundaries and standards of practice that need to be legally enforced to prevent malpractice or exploitation that may impact the lives of millions of people. The argument is explored in favor of legal control, together with the implications of same. A common definition is  the applied use of science and research, together with the supporting technology, to facilitate the manipulation of  genetic materials in order to alter the traits of a cell or organism. (Dictionary.com)

The dangers of genetic engineering:  The concept of genetic engineering in medical practice has been challenged on both ethical and moral grounds. Those dealing with genetic programming of both humans and animals are interfering with the process of nature.  The moral issues are associated with the fact that we are now entering a world where we can change our human composition, our environment and determine what future generations will look like.  The manipulation of human genomes poses serious ethical and moral challenges, which Willard Gaylin  described as the ‘Frankenstein Factor’. Scientists/Researchers should not be given a blank canvas to play on without suitable legal controls and stipulated boundaries. (Boone)

The Legal Challenge: There are a number of legal considerations when dealing with human subjects in biotechnology or genetic engineering. When potential damage occurs either at the hands of a government agency or a private company, a tort system of liability exists. As such the consequences may prove to be catastrophic and as such a tort system needs to work in consortium with Government regulations. As such remedial action is currently aimed at individual rights but it is considered that the legal system needs to be reformed in order to protect the legal rights of the general public. This means a re-examination of legal reforms in this specific area. (Freedman)

Ethical Issues in Cloning

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the ethics of cloning. The rate of success in animal cloning has been minimal and a great deal of transfer embryos fail to survive birth. Others have been seen to die within short timeframes or develop further developmental problems. This relates to the high failure rate in the understanding of genetic abnormalities and detecting such at prenatal diagnostic stage.  The inaccuracy in epigenetic reprogramming may create abnormalities in any gene expression  and this can create a wide spectrum of potential defects.  The concept of cloning specific cellular tissue for repair and regeneration in humans is equally like to result in cloning failures. (Jaenisch)

A considerable ethical debate transpired over the successful cloning of a sheep from a single somatic cell.  This caused the National Bioethics Advisory Commission in the USA to be pressed into making a statement on the considerations applicable to the possibility of human cloning. The report provided by Harold Shapiro of Princeton University concluded the possibilities of this were real and as such there is a moratorium that bans the cloning of human beings at this point in time. (Shapiro).

With regard to the concept of cloning in both humans and animals there are three main considerations from an ethical perspective.  These being (1) Legal Ethical responsibility (2) The Moral Ethical dilemma and (3) The resultant social implications.  With regard to the determination of these issues there are a number of questions that need to be answered in the writing and determination of policies appropriate to animal or human cloning:-

  • Does man have the right to interfere with nature and the natural order of things? If so to what degree should this be permissible without having negative ramifications on the development of the human species;
  • The concept of Human Cloning needs to be explored in a more holistic nature that embraces other similar activities like genetic engineering, in viro fertilization and hormone treatment
  • We have recently moved into new areas of medical research that includes the possibility of stem cell cloning and reproduction, equally deployment of human embryos;
  • Ethical questions of parentage resulting from human cloning development and does this concept of cloning outweigh the cost of human dignity;
  • Should the Government or the Medical profession regulate human cloning? How will such ethics be managed and how will covert military applications be prevented i.e. the genetic engineering of humans to create special battlefield soldiers.

 Conclusions

In so far as humans are concerned this is still a relatively futuristic concept.  The success with crops, plants and animals however points towards a rapidly expanding scientific and technological expansion in this area.  The concept of this being left in an unregulated environment creates a worrisome scenario for the human race.  Such ethical considerations require deep thought and still need considerable development in order to facilitate proper policy development in this area.

Works Cited

Boone, K.C. “Bad Axioms in Genetic Engineering.” Hastings Centre Report Vol 18 (1988).

Dictionary.com. Genetic Engineering. 2012. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genetic+engineering. 18 3 2012.

Freedman, W. “Legal issues in biotechnology and human reproduction: artificial conception.” Freedman, W. Legal issues in biotechnology and human reproduction: artificial conception. Wesport CT: Greenwood, 1991. 71-74.

Jaenisch, Rudolf. “Don’t Clone Humans.” Science Vol 29 (55) (2011): 2552.

Shapiro, Harold. “Ethical and Policy Issues of Human Cloning.” Science Vol 277 (1997): 195-196 .

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