Bioethics, which is the study of value judgments pertaining to
human conduct in the area of biology and includes those related to the
practice of medicine, has been an important aspect of all areas in the
scientific field (Bernstein, Maurice, M.D.). It is one of the factors
that says whether or not specific scientific research can go on, and if
it can, by which rules, regulations and guidelines it must abide by.
One of the most recent and controversial issues facing our society today
is the concept of cloning. On February 23, 1997, Ian Wilmut, a Scottish
scientist, along with his colleagues at the Roslin Institute and PPL
Therapeutics, announced to the world that they had cloned a lamb, which
they named Dolly, after Dolly Parton, from an adult sheep
(Mario,Christopher). The two share the same nucleic DNA, but differ in
terms of their mitochondrial DNA, which is vitally important for the
regulation of the cell.
The media and the press ignored this fact, and
thus claimed that Dolly and her 'mother' were genetically identical,
which sparked a fury of outcry all around the world. The technique of
transferring a nucleus from a somatic cell into an egg cell of which the
nucleus had been removed, called nuclear transplantation, is an
extension of research that had been ongoing for over 40 years.
Up until now, scientists thought that adult cells could not be
"reprogrammed" to behave like a fertilized egg and create an embryo, but
the evidence obtained by Dolly's success prove otherwise. The issues of
cloning have been around for a long time, starting with the publication
of Joshua Lederberg's 1966 article on cloning in the American
Naturalist. The public's interest has been perked by many sci-fi books,
films, and movies including Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel "Brave...