If you are over the age of 18, you surely remember the explosive obsession with the concept of human cloning back in the day. The obsession with cloning began with the news of Dolly the sheep, the first ever animal to be cloned using a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT. However, that turned out to not be quite so simple a process to replicate in other species. So what does that mean for human cloning? Have any developments been made? Find out the answers to all your questions about human cloning that you will not find in Techworld below.
What Is Human Cloning?
Human cloning is the potential creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. Typically, human cloning is also referred to as artificial human cloning. The cloning process includes the reproduction of cells and tissues. However, the topic remains very controversial both ethically and legally, which is why no human has ever been cloned to date. It is also why this area of science is constantly going viral.
Is Human Cloning Legal?
This raises the question, is human cloning legal? The simple answer is yes in some places; no in others. In the United States, no laws about human cloning are on the books. So technically, it is legal. However, roughly 70 nations worldwide have outlawed cloning. The United Nations has also passed a non-binding declaration on human cloning that bans all forms of human cloning contrary to human dignity. Depending on where you are reading this post, cloning legality may differ.
Have Developments Been Made In Human Cloning?
Not many developments have been made in regards to cloning humans. The main, driving reason behind the lack of innovation is the lack of commercial opportunity. Scientific research is spurred onward by the opportunity to make a profit, as evidenced by eye tracking technology developments. Because there is no profitable reason for cloning, there is not much research being performed in regards to the topic. However, stem cell research, of which their is a high market demand and great commercial opportunity, has certainly overtaken cloning of any type in terms of academic and scientific research.
Issues With Human Cloning
What are the issues with human cloning? There are many issues with the possibility of cloning humans. First, there are the many health risks possible from mutation of genes. Gene testing is not always able to spot mutations or developmental abnormalities successfully. There are also the many emotional risks regarding personal identity and inter-personal relationships. Another issue many have with human cloning is the risk for the abuse of the technology, whether for criminal purposes or immoral scientific research. In addition, many people of faith take issue with cloning science because they are taught that life is given from their god, the creator. These many problems are further reasoning as to why cloning science has not become widespread.
Other Types Of Cloning
There are also other types of artificial cloning that are little known by citizen journalists and other non-scientists. In addition to hypothetical human cloning, there are other types of cloning that are more widely accepted for scientific research. The three types of artificial cloning are gene cloning, reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. The process of gene cloning creates copies of genes or segments of DNA. Reproductive cloning produces exact copies of entire animals. Therapeutic cloning, though similar to reproductive clones, is used to produce embryonic stem cells for experiments, with the purpose of creating replacement tissue for damaged or diseased tissues. Some of these forms of cloning are much less controversial, but there is, of course, still debate over ethical implications.
Natural clones may not be what most think of when discussing the topic of cloning. It is something you do not learn about by watching TV. However, natural clones do exist. Natural cloning occurs in some plants and single-celled organisms. The most commonly witness evidence of natural cloning occurs in bacteria, which produces genetically identical offspring. This happens through the process of asexual reproduction, when a new being is created by a copy of a single cell from the parent. Natural human clones also exist in the form of identical twins. However, these twins have DNA that is identical to one another and not either parent. The existence of natural human cloning and other naturally occurring clones should help to dispel the unnatural image of cloning that some conservatives hold.
If you are too young to remember Dolly the sheep, you probably have little idea as to what artificial cloning is without doing some Googling first. Let this post serve as your guide to understand human cloning and why it failed to lead to any humans being cloned. However, you may still wish to keep an eye on the other, more acceptable, forms of artificial cloning, like gene cloning and therapeutic cloning, for further scientific developments.
Photo from http://www.lifenews.com/2012/12/21/human-cloning-the-unethical-manufacturing-of-human-life/