I've had this thing in my head bugging me for awhile, so I thought I'd discuss it with you people. Whats this thing bugging me? Well, you know it as the process of cloning. But lets start with what cloning is classed under first. Cloning is part of genetics, which in turn is a ‘discipline’ of biology.
Genetics is essentially being the science of heredity and variation in living organisms. It was a known fact since ancient times that living things inherit traits from their parents, and this knowledge has been used by farmers and ranchers to improve both crops and livestock through selective breeding. The modern science of genetics seeks to understand this process of inheritance, beginning with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-nineteenth century. Genes correspond to regions within DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), molecules which are compromised of a chain of four different types of nucleotides, namely Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine. Billions of each type make up a single strand of DNA. Adenine is always paired with Thymine, and Guanine is always paired with Cytosine. The sequence of these nucleotides is the genetic information organisms inherit.
Now anyone with a bit of creativity and perhaps some lunacy knows that genetics has infinite potential. One of the most controversial and yet potentially significant forms of research classed under genetics? That would be cloning. Cloning is essentially the process of producing populations of genetically identical individuals. It occurs naturally with organisms such as bacteria and insects, and also with plants. Put in layman's terms, cloning replicates a perfect copy of another living organism.
One variant of cloning is organism cloning, which refers to the procedure of creating new multicellular organisms genetically identical to its gene donors. This form of cloning is essentially a kind of asexual reproduction. Scientists have made several major breakthroughs with this form of cloning, the first of which began in 1952, when a tadpole was supposedly cloned, making it the first ever animal to have ever been successfully cloned. In 1963, Chinese embryologist Tong Di Zhou produced the world’s first cloned fish by inserting the DNA of a male carp into an egg by a female carp, leading to the creation of a successfully cloned carp. By 1986, Soviet scientists managed to clone a mouse named “Masha”. In 1996, scientists started to try and clone sheep using early embryonic cells; by 1997, Dolly the Sheep was the first mammal ever cloned. In the year 2000 a macaque named Tetra was created through embryo splitting. By 2001, technology had become advanced enough for scientists to actually clone a Gaur: an endangered species. Cattle were cloned in the same year. In late 2001, “CC” – meaning Copy Cat – became the first cloned pet. She appeared to be free of the health problems that plagued previous clones and even gave birth to three kittens. This was a significant breakthrough. Unlike Dolly, who died of various health failures despite being a successful experiment, CC could be labeled the perfect copy of a cat!
Following this success, in 2003 a rat, mule, and horse managed to be cloned. In 2005 the first cloned dog was created with a ear cell from an adult Afghan hound; 123 surrogate mothers were used, of which only three of them managed to produce puppies, and only one of the puppies survived – a dog that was named Snuppy. After these successes a wide variety of cloned animals were created successfully, which got people thinking. It started to, inevitably, lead to the possibility of cloned human beings. Cue major philosophical, religious, and political uproar.
Your very own clone wouldn't just be a childish fantasy anymore. It became reality. The potential was tremendous. People would never die of things like liver failure, lung failure, or even heart failure, ever again! With a clone of themselves on standby, they could simply extract organs and transplant those organs into themselves, thus saving their lives! Yet this causes a serious ethical dilemma. Such an act is considered inhumane by many. To create a living being, a human being, raise it, and then simply cull it ... people see that as outright abuse of human dignity. But how is this different from what humans do on a daily basis? Its a replica of raising farm livestock for the slaughter. Only this time, its not farm livestock being raised... its human clones.
The fact is, since animals have now been successfully cloned, human cloning can be seriously contemplated instead of brushed aside like some myth. It is obvious, after all these successes, that the next direction these scientists are going to look into would be human cloning. You've cloned insignificant tadpoles, then you've cloned animals, and then endangered animals ... Soon you'll be resurrecting extinct animal species with biological samples thats been acquired! With advanced technology you could pull a Jurassic Park stunt and get the bloody dinosaurs up and about again!
Think about it seriously. Cloning first began in the 1950s, with little tadpoles and fish. Fifty years later, in the modern 21st century, we've got cloned animals. Endangered animals to boot. So give it another fifty more years, and by 2060 human cloning should have achieved some semblance of clarity and perfection. Less faults, more goodness. Perfect renditions of existing human beings. Clone celebrities such as actors and singers. Clone geniuses of musical, scholarly, and philosophical fields. Clone specialists like soldiers and artists. The possibilities are endless.
An entire army of clones who respect your views with 100% loyalty and will never question you because they're all you? Check.
A cloned legion of the greatest minds of the world such as Einstein, Gauss, Rulloff, Lenin, whose brains were all preserved, all of whom could help further the boundaries of science and technology dramatically? Check.
But really, by the end of the day, despite all the possibilities and all the dreams, the questions I'm asking are:
Is cloning, to you, morally/ethnically right? Would you consider it? What would you do with it?