Pros and Cons of Cloning

January 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Pros and Cons

Contrary to popular notion, cloning started more than a century before Dolly, the first cloned mammal, became famous. It cannot be denied, nonetheless, that Dolly awakened the imagination of the populace regarding the pros and cons of cloning. It is a debate that continues to polarize society 15 years after the birth of the most famous sheep on Earth.

Inclusions in the Discussion

We must emphasize that the cloning referred to in this article refers to reproductive, gene and therapeutic cloning. Reproductive cloning is used in the creation of an animal with the same nuclear DNA as another animal, the latter of which may be currently or previously in existence. This was the technology used in the creation of Dolly.

Therapeutic cloning refers to the production of human embryos for the purpose of research. It has also been applied to create new organs or tissues for transplantation into a waiting patient with possible applications in the treatment of diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer.

These two types of cloning – there is a third type known as gene cloning, by the way – are at the center of heated debates. If you wish to cast your vote on the pros and cons of cloning, it is important to acquire as much reliable and relevant information and education on the matter.

Advantages of Cloning

With that being said, the following are the generally accepted benefits of cloning:

• Easy replacement of internal organs and tissues for patients in need of transplants instead of waiting for suitable organ donors, alive or dead. Since the transplanted organ contains most of the recipient’s genes, there is a lesser chance for rejection as well.
• Cloning can be a solution to the infertility issue among couples. Theoretically speaking, parents can choose the desirable qualities in their genes to be passed on to their children.
• Genetic research can immensely benefit from cloning especially in combating the wide range of genetic diseases.

Tipping the balance in the pros and cons of cloning is the fact the gene cloning can be harnessed to produce superior plants and animals to feed humanity. Genetic engineering has made great advances in this regard although it is also polarizing.

Disadvantages of Cloning

Of course, there are disadvantages to cloning that prevent the advances in this area to be made. Such disadvantages include:

• Genetic diversity and its benefits are weakened with the replicating process in cloning. We may be exposing ourselves to a compromised ability to adapt to our surroundings, not to mention that the beauty of diversity is lost.
• Unethical practices can result from cloning as unscrupulous individuals can breed individuals with certain traits.

Probably the most contentious issue in the debate about the pros and cons of cloning is the ethical side of the process. Is it ethical to act like God by creating an embryo that develops into a human being? Is it ethical to kill a pre-embryo in order to harvest its stem cells, which will then be cultivated into an organ for transplant purposes? Is it ethical to mess around with nature in the first place?

Indeed, if you must take sides in the pros and cons of cloning debate, your main responsibility is to enter it with an open, educated and informed mind first and stable emotions second.