Cloning is the creation of an organism that is an exact copy of the other. This means that every single DNA is common to both the organisms. Cloning is also a natural process. In nature some organism such as bacteria, insects and plants reproduce asexually creating a clone of itself. Most people do not believe but clones do exist among human. They are referred to as identical twins.
The term clone came from an ancient Greek work “twig”, which refers to process of creating a new plant from a twig. Today laboratory cloning of animals is famous. It started with the famous cloning of the dolly the sheep in 1997. The most concerned and unresolved issue is human cloning. Advocates of human cloning believe that the practice can create regenerative medicine, fertility treatment for infertile parents, terminate human aging process .On the other hand, this practice raises ethical issues like genetic damage to the clone, health risk to the mother, low success rate and psychological harm to the clone.
Laboratory cloning practiced today are different from the natural process of reproduction. There are two main methods of cloning practiced today. They are the artificial embryo twining and Somatic cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). Artificial embryo twining is a technology that copies the natural process of creating identical twins. The cloning process uses an early embryo which is manually divided into individual cells, and then the cell are allowed to develop on its own. The resulting embryo is placed inside the surrogate mother. Since the embryo comes from same zygote, they are genetically identical. In Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer the same result is produced in a different way. This method was used to create Dolly the sheep. To make dolly scientists isolated a somatic cell, a cell other than the two reproductive cells, from an adult female sheep. Then they transferred its nucleus to an egg cell with nucleus removed. After several chemical tweaks the cell starts to behave like an embryo, which then is implanted inside the surrogate mother. Dolly was born after 277 eggs which were used to create 29 embryo’s that produced three lambs. Out of which only one survived. Scientist also speculated that dolly’s dead in 2003 resulted in problems related to deficiencies in cloning process. So if this process was used in a human being as seen the survival rate is very low. In the process lots of embryo are destroyed which most people refer to as akin to murder. So far this proves some of the ethical issues related to human cloning.
Cloning advocates like Ian Wimut, who led the team that cloned dolly, say something different. Ian Wimut strongly argues that dolly died due to respiratory infections and not from deficiencies related to cloning. Also the advocates says that hundreds of left over embryos are discarded by in vitro fertilization clinics, so why not use them for treatment that could possibly cure Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease. Also advocates believe that genetically identical cell can be used for regenerative medicine. This means that the organs created from one body will not trigger an immune response and the body will accept the organ. Some scientists also believe that aging process can be eliminated by a person’s brain to a cloned body. It’s not sure yet how this is going to work. Most of benefits from cloning are in theory and there is low chance of its practical value and even the subject surviving.
The issue of cloning has different perception in different religions. In Islam it is accepted to clone parts of human body only for medical purposes but to clone entire human body is not permitted under any circumstances. In Christianity cloning of human embryo or human being is not allowed. In Judaism there is no rule saying that cloning is not allowed but it’s not advised. Many people believe that cloning is playing with nature. It’s going against god. Some claim that cloned humans may be born without souls. They speculate that the soul enters the body when a sperm fertilizes an ovum. Since there is no sperm involved in cloning, perhaps the fetus would develop without a soul. There is no way to know whether a soul is present; it has no weight, it cannot be seen, touched, smelled, heard, or detected in any other way.
In United States, consumption of cloned animal meat and other products was approved by Food and drug authority in 2008, with no special labelling required. But still in many other countries this is an ongoing debate. Currently there is no tracking system and products of cloned animals are increasingly sold in America. Some scientists believe that FDA’s approval is based on limited and inadequate experiments and that it is not a good idea to consume cloned animal products. Mostly in other countries cloned animal products are banned.
At current the cloning of DNA has problems like genetic defects and low survival rate will result in ethical issues related to human cloning. This issue is unresolved and it will go in such way as we don’t know the world of cloning as children will be born with no emotional relationship to parents and so, current trend of ethical issues will put a halt on cloning.