The Science Behind Human Cloning: Is It Feasible?
- Dec 12, 2016
- Sudipto Das
The legality and ethics of human cloning are still considered to be blurry. But the science behind this idea is pretty clear. Each and every research ideas suggest the fact that this practice is quite possible. Human embryos are already cloned by scientists successfully and it’s the general belief that cloning a fully developed human being is the next step. But will that next step come easy? There are certain ethical and legal issues.
Cloning: A basic Introduction
Cloning is referred to the number of processes used to create a genetically identical copy of a specific biological entity.
Cloning can actually occur naturally, like in bacteria or some plants etc. But such a form of cloning is not the main point of discussion under this topic. We are more concerned with artificial cloning.
Cloning takes the random factor out of human reproduction. Most animals get half of their DNA from their father and half from their mother. That gives them an endless number of possibilities to create their unique DNA. But in case of artificial cloning, that endless number of possibilities is removed. The game of chance ceases to exist. Thus, we get an exact copy of the principal DNA.
Cloning has already become an important practice in other aspects of science. Cloning an entire human being might have some ethical issues which is completely justified. But other forms of cloning like therapeutic cloning has somewhat brought in a revolution in the field of medicine.
Therapeutic cloning is the cloning of embryonic stem cells with the goal to replace damaged tissue. Scientists have already cloned adult stem cells to perfection in 2014 which can be considered to be a huge breakthrough in therapeutic cloning.
Is Human Cloning Feasible?
So we have seen that human cloning is perfectly possible and we have actually attained it to perfection. But, just to make certain things clear it should be noted that till this date, there’s no record of an attempt to clone a fully developed human beings. Human cloning has happened consistently in fictitious accounts and movies but not in reality.
Although we have broken many barriers in the field of cloning and have opened up a range of successful possibilities, it can be said with conviction that the possibility of cloning a fully developed human being is bleak due to unethical as well as a few other reasons.
Say for example,
The attempt of cloning has a significantly high failure rate with only around 1 out of 100 attempts leading to the successful formation of a viable animal. It’s also known that cloned animals don’t exactly lead a healthy life. There’s high mortality rate and disfigurations like some cloned animals are born with unusually large organs. As a result, most die or often euthanized to relieve their pain. For this exact reason, most scientists oppose to research into this highly controversial topic. Take a look at this quote by Dr. Robert Lanza, the chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology (A biotech company).
"It's like sending your baby up in a rocket knowing there's a 50-50 chance it's going to blow up. It's grossly unethical,"
That quote itself proves the fact that it’s basically a game of chances with plenty of negative outcomes. Thus, it definitely doesn’t look very feasible especially when cloning an entire human being is concerned.
Future prospects of cloning
The UN General Assembly has banned almost all sorts of human cloning in 2005. Such ban includes the likes of reproductive and therapeutic cloning.
For these exact reasons, it can be said that the research in human cloning will probably lie more in the category of therapeutic cloning. Reproductive cloning, due to ethical and legal issues will most certainly not see daylight. Though the science behind cloning is quite exciting, it needs further research. It needs further development. And soon we’ll probably be in a world where legal and ethical organ transplants would be a very part of the reality.
Sudipto writes technical and educational content periodically for wizert.com and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.
Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993
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