Human Cloning: The Controversy

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

download word file, 7 pages 1.0

Downloaded 53 times

Human Cloning: The Controversy Somatic cell nuclear transfer, more commonly known as cloning, has created a large amount of controversy. In February 1997, the successful cloning of an adult sheep by Ian Wilmut produced Dolly, the world's first clone. Dolly's arrival brought forth the possibility of successfully cloning a human being. The prospect of human cloning has spawned an even higher controversy. Many scientific, ethical, and social debates can be attributed to the relatively recent breakthroughs in genetic engineering.

The process of cloning involves first acquiring a cell from the subject to be cloned. The nucleus of the donor cell is then extracted and transferred into an unfertilized egg. The altered egg is implanted into a surrogate mother, resulting in a baby that is genetically identical to the original donor. Although the cloning of a human being has never been attempted, the process would be the equivalent. As the potential for human cloning rises, so do the arguments against it.

In March of 1997, following the announcement of Dolly, President Bill Clinton issued a moratorium that strictly prohibits the use of federal funds for any project involving human cloning. He then proposed legislation that banned human cloning completely for five years, giving the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) time to assess the risks and study the ethical and social impacts of cloning humans further. By early 1998, nineteen European countries, not including Britain, had signed a ban on the cloning of humans. In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced its authority to regulate human cloning until laws regarding the science could be passed. This act made it a violation of federal law to try somatic cell nuclear transfer without the FDA's approval.

Aside from the legalities, many other arguments against human cloning exist. One of...