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National Human Genome Institute (N HGRI) defines cloning as all those processes used to create an exact replica of another cell or organism for research purposes.(Medline Plus) Its an idea that has existed since man started the concept of education and quest for knowledge. The desire to invent and discovery came into existence even before documentation began. The process of cloning however is not only complicated but controversial in all fields, races, religions and even in the scientific spectrums. The supporters of the idea have given numerous merits to the concept arguing that it can help cure numerous genetic illnesses (gene therapy). Others include improvement of the crop quality, combat of crimes through genetic identifications, improvement of fertility among infertile humans, slowing of the aging process and many more as we are going to observe. Cloning is one of the most successful scientific discoveries of all times. It is with no doubt that this concept is beneficial to both man and animals not only in the present time but also in the future. The purpose of this study is to focus the origin, the advantages, the criticism and the benefits of cloning in the human existence.
The most notable of all the past people who worked to start the journey of discovery of the cloning process was the 1935 Nobel peace laureate Dr Spermann who discovered the 'organizer's effect' (which meant that the nucleus of the cell of any species of was the source of its identity). He noted that by transplanting the nucleus into another viable nucleus the process of replication may take place, in fact' will' take place! This discovery triggered a series of scientific research into the topic. About a decade after that American scientists tried a frog by trying to diffuse an embryo of a grown male into an egg's structure. Although it wasn't successful the first step was enough to make others inspired to try more. In fact about three hundred attempts were made but the major breakthrough came in the mid 80's when the process of 'somatic nuclear cell transfer' was invented (Levine). This process as the name suggests include splitting the cells or tissues of organisms and transferring of the nucleus into a desired destination to create anew substance. The concept was the one used to create the famous 'Dolly" which is the first of all the clones (Think quest).
Animal and plant cloning is the first of the step in highlighting the benefit of the process for the human generation. Mankind is reluctant to take the cloning into his mainstream lifestyle and even advancing it further. But perhaps is the lack of understanding of the contents of this practice otherwise known as the 'genetic engineering'. There are different types of cloning that are very vital in not only improving lives and include, gene cloning reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. (Eureka Science)
Types of Cloning
Gene cloning is the creation of the copies of the Di ribonucleic Acid or the DNA. This is the replication of the strains of the substances that make the life of all organisms. These strains are used to influence the outcome of such organisms that are created to come out stronger, with a better quality of traits. It's the famous genetic re-engineering which means the genes of a person, animal or crop is upgraded in order to come out with the most favorable characteristics that adapt to the environment with much ease and resistance to outer challenges such as ailments and environment (Eureka Science)
Reproductive cloning means the creation of the whole organisms. The NGHI explains this as that process where the whole animal is remade through another. This may take details of the first animals in precision such as the eye color the horn size and much more. This is one of the most initial types of cloning which was practiced in the fifties which was of the plan to produce the exact image of the first animal unlike the most recent types which aim at specific traits of the organism that is being 'copied'.
Therapeutic cloning is the most researched of all the cloning types which aim at creating the stem cell of the embryo of an animal or organism. Researchers are presently looking at the successfulness of this concept because it will hopefully help in growing of tissues that are ill or injured in the body systems of humans. This is a good example where it's possible that the hereditary diseases such as cancer can be stopped to advance in the family trees.
As it can be noted by now, the concept of the cloning of organism is derived from the simple process of animal and plants upgrading systems practiced in the historical times such as grafting and stem cutting and replacements (Jones & Byrne, 11). These processes were able to produce notable but small scale results. However, the cloning process is more precise advanced and more result oriented than the old techniques. This is the explanation that the critics who, in their numbers argue that the process is promoting the consumption of genetically engineered which may have 'future unprecedented' consequences.
The three types cloning are the frame of a much wider concept of the cloning process which may not be discussed at this level but is an answer to critics that the process is both safe and beneficial now and in the future.
The advantages of cloning
Cloning is one of the most efficient forms of human discoveries and effective for that matter. Its use can not only be applicable in the biology field but also in other wider platform such as the national security, intelligence in therapy and even physics. Some of the pros or merits of the concept are highlighted next.
Genetic therapy is the basic of all the benefits of the cloning practice (Levine, 98). According to Levine this is that process where a gene is introduced into the system of a person with a defective gene caused by ailment such as cancer or aids and takes over the position of the defective gene. This is important as it helps the patient with such diseases that have no cure yet to continue with their normal lives with little disturbances. This form of genetic engineering is introduced at early stages and help in curtailing the spread of such diseases. This is very beneficial as it not only help cut the frequent administering of hormones into the systems of the patient at regular basis a process that can not only be costly but very detrimental to the patient.
Cloning is second benefit is its ability to produce quality crops and better composed produce. The crops so far in the market such as maize or soya that has been produced through he process have been successfully recorded a resistance to diseases caused by fungi or bacteria which in other words affect many farms worldwide. The diseases are very dangerous not only to the human beings but the animals that may come into contact with them. In addition to that they care very expensive to treat. This is definitely a plus to the future of the agriculture sectors worldwide. However, someone may argue that this process undermines the natural process of the growth and development. This can be answered that the crops already consume herbicides and other substances that enhance growth!(Generic Engineering)
Human cloning is one of the most delicate and bitterly contested ideas. Various religious and groupings argue that it was not in the way of nature to 'create' other complicated human beings. This, they argue that it may prove detrimental because if it comes in into contact with the regular human cells may give rise to resistant creatures that may be dangerous to the world. This has also been triggered by the creation of movies and other documentaries that raise fears.
However, the human cloning is advantageous in its own way as it helps the body be immune to many diseases and accept drugs. Cancer heart disease and diabetes are some of the most complicated diseases to treat by all doctors of all the ages. Reconstruction of the genetic makeup and replacement of all the potentially dangerous traits that may give rise to the said diseases is perhaps the only short way of dealing with such ailments once for all. Doctors in the American state have published numerous articles that show the processes and the pros of such cloning techniques. In future as the technology improves cloning may replace complicated processes of curing diseases such as cancer which include radiotherapy and chemotherapy which are sometimes lethal.
It has been noticed that the process of cloning is attracting even the most of the unlikely players in the world- beauty and plastic surgeons! This is because one advantage of the cloning is that if some steps are successfully made by the scientists, the clones may have a slow aging process. Cosmetic surgery is perhaps one of the newest technologies embraced by the wealthy people who are willing to give out much money to remain young. In future perhaps if the technology is advanced enough many people may do away with the regular checking and anti aging processes. (Think quest)
Human reproductive cloning is advantageous because like the plant cloning also increases the fertility of the humans. Dr Atiori who is one of the known proponents of cloning says that the present form of cloning if advanced can help infertile parents to give birth their offspring's with their DNA rather than the conventional adoption legal process. (Genetic engineering) However, this attempt of test tube babies have been challenged through numerous times failing to result successfully.
Gene cloning on other hand can be used to produce hormones and vaccines. This is through the precise process of bringing into contact the nucleus that have defects on other people with those that are healthy and thus boost their immunity and acceptance of diseases. This may be the answer to genetic diseases such as the Down's syndrome and the systic fibrosis which are brought down through hereditary factors. In addition to those diseases that are inherited, there are those that affect the nervous system such ads the Parkinson's disease which are very difficult to treat.
The stem cells which have be mentioned earlier are those generated for a specific part of the system that is either affected or injured. The cells have the ability to grow on those parts without affecting the rest of the body.
Apart from such of the biological explanations of the advantages of the cloning processes there are those external advantages that may be noticed in the future and prove to be more advantages. This includes the use by the national intelligence of the FBI. It is through genetic identification or the study of the DNA from suspected people that investigators use of these samples as evidence to carry out investigations on the crime scenes and criminal identifications.
The above process is done through the restrictions enzymes that help the DNA obtained from the individual to be examined by medical detectives. Successful stories of criminal investigations have been reported and successfully tried with minor things such as hair strands found on the surfaces of suspected people. Cloning can bevery handy in such instances. However, the criticism has been brought forward by all the people who are anti the process.
The Christians and even some Muslim believers argue that the creation of other human things may be contrary to their faith (Levine, 139-140). This is because they argue that the work of the Almighty Creator is complete and needs not to be complimented or subtracted. In fact such critics were so persistence until the United States food and Administration banned the cloning of the human beings without complicated process of legal and social requirements. However, the scientists feel like this is a limitation to effective scientific research because it's basically a quest for beneficiary knowledge (Jones & Byrne, 41)
Animal right activists also feel that the animals used in experiments are used as samples and are not supposed to be use in such manner (Kim, 36). However this may be counter argued that the successful stories such as the making of Dolly the Sheep cloned has more benefits than the demerits that may be realized. Dr Spermann in the forties made the first step using frogs and other little animals which gave rise to the present ideas being developed hence its safe to say that the animals being used as specimens are the little sacrifice that all eventful work through history has to occur.
From within the doctors circles there also have been fears that have arisen regarding this matter. According to Kim (77) some feel that the process should be taken a bit slower with each move being treated cautiously as there may arise new conditions such as infections and diseases from the processes that may be difficult to handle. This argument has inspired a lot of movies to be created that expose the cloning gone bad, and creatures which are brutal and horrifying and rule the earth! However, this is just a work of fiction and should not raise fears.
Recent studies carried in the United States show that the majority of people in the country don't approve the process and feel it's too risky. Some scholars argue that the country is not ready for the cloned human being as there are more global issues that are supposed to be dealt with right now. This notion should be discouraged and space provided for the research and development on this issue. Both the people the government should look at the merits more and less on the disadvantages (Genetic engineering)
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Enforcing of the laws against the concept to me may not be the ultimate solution to discourage the practice. However it is important for the country to guard the future of the citizenry from biological problems that may arise from such studies. On the other hand it's important too for the government to consider the greater picture of reduced medical cover, faster growing agricultural produce and disease resistant population.
The cloning process has attracted major sentiments from all directions in the world. Its one of the most controversial scientific processes ever made. From the originators it has elicited more fears than the benefits that it potentially gives. This perhaps is the reason why all the stakeholders must not only convey the truth but also the need to shed light on the issue. All the types of the cloning process seen above are to be beneficial in future.