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Ethics of Embryonic Cloning

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Ethics of Embryonic Cloning

Embryonic Wars
The specific objective of this major essay is to clarify and summarise the controversial debate concerning the ethical decency of embryonic cloning for therapeutic purposes. This is the form of cloning that is supposedly beneficial to a barrage of medical applications. We will identify the key opposing ethical perspectives such as those of the justification of embryonic research based on the normative theory of consequentialism. This paper will also probe into the relatively brief history of the debate while gauging the particular stumbling blocks of disagreement which bioethicists have arrived at. The topical aspects of therapeutic cloning will be closely studied by weighing the pros and cons and gaining a greater understanding of the present scenario.

Formally speaking, embryonic cloning is a technique used by researchers and animal breeders to split a single embryo into two or more embryos that will all have the same genetic information. Some more extreme forms of Embryonic or Therapeutic cloning involve the deliberate creation of an identical twin to be destroyed before implantation in order to make replacement tissues. However, these identical twins are usually only six day old embryos, a minuscule collection of cells without a nervous system. Therapeutically, the notion of cloning is medically significant because cloned individuals at the embryonic stage 'share the same immune characteristics as each other? (Harris 26). The possibility of cloning an individual at the embryo stage allows one clone to be used as a cell tissue and organ bank for the other.
Embryonic cloning has a history of significant developments and discoveries that have occurred only in the past ten or twenty years. In the nineteen eighties and early nineteen nineties, sophisticated foetal and embryological research was banned by the United States? Reagan and Bush administrations due to pressure from pro-life factions of the Republican party. However, these regulations against research into the controversial field were relaxed considerably with the inception of the more pro-choice Clinton administration. In October 1994, Robert J. Stillman shocked the world with the news of his successful ?cloning of seventeen flawed human embryos at George Washington Medical Center? (Dyson & Harris 276) in the United States. Events such as this have continued to spark furious debate over the past few years. In December 1998, Professor Lee Bo-Yeon of Korea created and killed the first human clone, much to the dismay of numerous pressure groups. In July this year, scientists of the United Kingdom began to publicly exploit a loophole in the Government's ruling of the rejection of spare-part cloning research. The loophole allows the researchers to continue with experiments by importing stem cells from cloned embryos which have been created and destroyed in another country.
There is a rather surprising amount of medical benefits arising from therapeutic cloning research which have to be weighed before we assess where the debate is currently at. Doctors lay well founded expectations that by being able to study the multiple embryos developed through cloning, the causes of disastrous spontaneous abortions can be determined and much human loss can be averted. A greatly viable application lies in the field of clinical contraceptives. Leading contraceptive specialists perceive that if they can determine the manner in which an embryo knows where to implant itself, a contraceptive can be developed which will prevent embryos from implanting in the uterine wall. An additionally important branch of therapeutic cloning research is embryonic stem cell development. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can ?evolve into almost any type of cell? (Lord 28) within the human body. These cells are not attacked by a person's immune system because of their rapid maturation and undifferentiated status. Many doctors have reason to believe that these stem cells could be used to replace damaged cell tissue in adult humans with brain and nervous system damage. Because of the large amount of cells needed, human embryo cloning will aid the eventual implantation of those cells significantly. Cancer investigation is probably the most crucial reason for research into therapeutic cloning. Oncologists believe that embryonic study will advance the understanding of the rapid cell growth of cancer. Cancer cells develop at roughly the same extraordinary speed as embryonic cells. By studying the embryonic cell growth, scientists may be able to determine how to stop it and, in turn, also stop cancer growth. Genetic embryo screenings is a branch of cloning research which is already becoming increasingly effective and precise within hospitals in England. Parents who have a history of genetically inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis can now use an embryo screening to determine if their child has received the faulty gene. The more medically questionable use of cloned embryos is for spare parts. By freezing cloned embryos, it is possible to later thaw and implant one into the uterine wall for the development of an identical child. This foetus would then be able to provide any organs or bone marrow transplants to save the life of ...

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Keywords: ethics of cloning embryos, what is cloning in ethics, ethics of cloning pets, ethical issues of human cloning

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