Benefits and Risks of Cloning (More emphasis on the benefits) Essay Example
Benefits and Risks Of Cloning
Cloning is done mostly so as to come up with cells and tissues that are self reconcilable and can be used for medical purposes to prevent diseases and even for transplant of organs. Cloning has raised a lot of issues in terms of ethics from the church and even in medical fields in regards to how safe it is and its potential to being abused. This article looks at the benefits and risks of cloning for spare part human organs and the prevention of predisposed diseases.
Research shows that there is an increasing gap in the supply and demand of organs that can be transplanted. The use of human embryonic stem cell technology is an advantage as it could be used as a means to solve the shortage there is by rehabilitating damaged and diseased tissue in a number of different common condition found in the human body. The technology has its own immunological problems in delivering of cell lines to huge populations. Arguments have been made in favor of motivating the intentional creation of embryos where by immune compatible stem cell lines could be produced. The immunological limitation in the transplant of tissue needs the creation of a global stem cell bank. It may be a savior for the disadvantaged groups in society who are currently not able to access allocation systems or even afford organ procurement due to the shortage and high costs of acquiring them. “Applications of regenerative medicine technology may offer new therapies for patients with injuries, end-stage organ failure, or other clinical problems.” With the challenges that have been found in the attempts to increase the number of organs that can be transferred the human embryonic stem cells have raised a lot of attention as they have the potential to produce specific tissues and even grow complete organs (Atala 21). They are however subject to immunological barriers in terms of recipients and donors which restrains the applicability of stem cell technology. “In addition to donor shortages, underdeveloped transplantation infrastructures also contribute to the organ shortage problem”. Even with the disadvantages HESC’s help in reduction of the current demand there is for transplant organs and has also reduced the number of deaths related to such problems (Lot et al 37).
When human eggs are fertilized, within the first five days the oocyte develops into a blastocyst. This stage is reached before the egg attaches itself on to the womb. “In their inner cell mass, blastocyst contain pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ES cells), which will give rise to all the tissues in the human body.” These cells can be expanded in laboratory cultures to allow for the growth and development of specialized tissue like the heart muscle cells, insulin –producing pancreatic islet cells and other types of nerve cells and glial cells that produce the myelin cover of nerves (Revel 4). These cells have been studied in mice and animal diseases and have proven to have therapeutic potential which adds to the advantages of using embryonic stem cells in creating new tissue cells to cure diseases. Medical research done in the UK show that the transplantation of these cells and tissues that are acquired by way of in vitro differentiation of human embryonic cells are more likely able to restore worn out tissues of different organs like the insulin producing pancreatic cells in patients with diabetes, neural cells in those suffering from neurological diseases such Parkinson’s disease, in spinal cord traumas and also cardiomyocytes in those with heart problems.
The technology has been tried in animal models and shows great potential to be used in regenerative medicine but actual clinical trials have not been tried yet. Safe methods need to be developed in the production of these cells to allow for them to be used in patients (Revel 4).
Animal cloning by the use of nuclear transfer technology is being developed for use in agriculture and also for medical purposes. In agriculture it concentrates on the reproduction of animals that are genetically valuable and can produce high quality meat and milk. The use of products from cloned animals will mostly depend on their safety and the nutritional value they have to their consumers. In the development of these cloned animals sometimes there are occurrences of development abnormalities and even neonatal death due to abnormal genes. “Questions have been raised regarding the safety of food products from cloned animals and their offspring, even though they have existed for several years in animal breeding populations (as split embryo twins or from reconstructed embryos using nuclear transfer.” Animal cloning is seen as an extension of conventional animal production methods and as such the risks from cloned animals are no more than those from non-cloned animals (Yamaguchi et al 152). Products from these animals have been analyzed and are found to be no different compared to the non- cloned animals. Toxicology reports are still being made to further analyze the safety of these products to ensure they are safe for consumption without having repercussions. Research has been done where rats are feed on a long term basis with meat and milk from cloned animals to find out if there would be any effects on their well being. Results showed that no rats died during the feeding process and no abnormal clinical signs were noticed in regards to their diets. The results could go a long way in proving the safety of these products and in turn the technology can be used to supply food where there is shortage and also to grow animals where harsh climatic conditions cannot allow them to survive.
The greatest risk that many consider to be associated with cloning is perhaps the fact that technology is not yet developed enough to allow for these procedures to be entirely safe. There are fears that it could be abused leading to the mass production of human clones with the sole intention to harvest organs and tissues for sale leading to lack of keenness on whether the organs would be compatible with their hosts to avoid the emergence of a new set of problems of that nature. “Concerns about oocyte donation specifically for research are particularly serious in the wake of the Hwang scandal in south Korea, in which widely hailed claims of deriving human SCNT lines were fabricated.” Strict laws are put into place to govern the cloning of human so as to maintain sanity and order in the society and also as a means of avoiding conflicts that would arise due to misuse of the cloning technology (Lo et al 204).
Atala, Anthony. «Advances in tissue and organ replacement.» Current stem cell research & therapy 3.1 (2008): 21-31.
Lott, Jason P., and Julian Savulescu. «Towards a global human embryonic stem cell bank.» The American Journal of Bioethics 7.8 (2007): 37-44.
Lo, Bernard, and Lindsay Parham. «Ethical issues in stem cell research.» Endocrine reviews 30.3 (2009): 204-213.
Revel, Michel. «Research on Human embryonic stem cells and cloning for stem cells.» Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics 14.1 (2008): 4-14.
Yamaguchi, Makiko, Yoshihiko Ito, and Seiya Takahashi. «Fourteen-week feeding test of meat and milk derived from cloned cattle in the rat.» Theriogenology 67.1 (2007): 152-165.
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