Just Because We Can Clone, Should We?

Life August 28, 2018


Just Because We Can Clone, Should We?

When a loved one dies it can be a devastating loss. One that will drive people to do anything just to see them again. While cloning humans is still illegal, cloning pets is gaining in controversial popularity. Because cloning is still so new and unknown, there is fear about cloning people. There’s no doubt about it that people love their pets just like family, if not more. If you had the opportunity to clone your beloved pet, would you?

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Why is cloning deemed unethical?

The question of the morality of cloning has long been debated, since the most memorable case of dolly the sheep being cloned. Do we have the right to bioengineer a copy of a living creature, especially considering the risk and pain that the process requires? It’s not just a one step process. It can take a dozen or more embryos to produce just one healthy dog. Not only do many of the puppies die or have deformities, but the surrogate mom is basically like a reproductive machine. Doesn’t backyard breeding get a bad rap? Then why on earth are we allowing a glorified genetic engineered version of backyard breeding.
Another reason to view cloning dogs as unethical is the fear of cloning humans. What’s stopping science from making money off the loss of peoples loved ones and cloning their dead son, or mother. We are already having a hard time sustaining an already overpopulated society, what would happen if people never actually “died.” While death can be devastating it is a necessary part of life. If we could use cloning to provide organs for people who are in need, or are able to somehow give people their limbs back, that would be pretty amazing. But to re-create life outside of the natural process I feel could cause a lot of problems beyond what we can even imagine.

Man Behind The Cloning

Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk created Sooam, a company that clones peoples dogs. Dr. Hwang worked at Seoul national university in 2004 and was known for being coauthored in the prestigious journal of science stating that he and his team had successfully cloned a human embryo. Later come to find out he was kicked off the faculty when they found out that he lied about cloning a human embryo. He had fabricated evidence, embezzled government funds, and illegally paid for donor eggs from female researchers in his lab. He only got 2 years for his crime, but here’s the kicker, he got out early when a judge suspended the sentence due to him saying the doctor was truly sorry. He is still able to practice with restrictions and a year later he created the world’s first cloned dog. While I necessarily don’t feel like I like the guy due to him not being an honest doctor, I have to hand it to him. Not only did he clone a dog, but has also made a successful business out of it providing people the opportunity to see some form of their dog, again.

Cloning process

The cloning process is also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer. Scientists poke a micro hole in the egg and remove the nucleus where the DNA is stores and replace it with a cell from the dog that is being cloned. Then the hybrid egg is blasted with a short burst of electricity to fuse the cells and begin cell division and the embryo is imbedded in to a surrogate’s womb. If successful, a puppy will be born 60 days later. Dr. Hwang lets customers know that they do not get an exact replica of their former dog. Clones will look like the original dog and share some traits, but they don’t have the same memories and upbringing as the original dog. The cost to clone a dog is $100,000, the reason cloning dogs is so expensive due to dogs only going into heat twice a year. While I do not necessarily agree with cloning, I do find it fascinating from a scientific stand point. The fact that we can manipulate and create life is a huge step forward.

Whether you are for or against cloning, just know that it is alive and happening. There are a lot of unknowns regarding cloning and that can cause a lot of fear. I think this fear comes from there not being an established boundary, and were not sure where the line gets crossed. This can be from everyone having different morals and ethics about the subject. I feel that as long as we use it to better humanity and not destroy it, we will be on the correct path.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash