Cloning has been a staple of science fiction for the last fifty-plus years in Hollywood as well as literary works. The uniqueness lies in the characteristics of the life of a clone. Although fictitious, Hollywood has offered a unique perspective regarding the possibilities of human cloning.
Humans coexisting with deadly predators on a prehistoric scale are not a good mix for survivability.BetaWired
Table of contents
- Towards Human Cloning
- Human Cloning in the Real World
- Realising the Benefits of Human Cloning
Towards Human Cloning
Jurassic Park pushed the scientific envelope with its take on cloning. Their method of cloning involved using fossilized DNA in order to reintroduce expired species of dinosaurs. Because of the gaps in the DNA cluster, they used frog DNA to help fill in the gaps.
The idea was both excitedly creative and frightening all rolled up into one. Humans coexisting with deadly predators on a prehistoric scale are not a good mix for survivability.
In the movie Twins, they explored the concept of using genetically altered twins for human cloning, along the same line as modern conversations regarding cloning.
They believed genetics could be altered so that the more desirable traits could be extracted into one embryo to make a kind of super-human specimen.
A Multiplicity of Facts
Many Hollywood films have toyed with the concept that the process of human cloning would result in human clones that were exactly the same cosmetically, but may differ in personality.
The movie, Multiplicity with Michael Keaton followed the mythos that a clone would share all of the memories of the cloned original at the time the copy was made.
The idea of a carbon copy type of clone has been shared in many other films of this genre. The concept of having to share your life with a clone that may or may not be considered actually human is a twisted argument to have to reconcile.
Beyond Science Fiction and the Reality of Human Cloning
However, the most alarming concept regarding the cloning discussion is that it has reached past the realm of fiction and has become a reality in the scientific community.
Although cloning full-grown human specimens has not yet been achieved (that we know of), it probably won’t be too long before the technology is capable of perfecting the cloning of skin and vital organs.
Indeed, how far away are we from mainstream human cloning?
Human Cloning in the Real World
One popular misconception of cloning is that when you clone something, it will instantly develop into an adult replica. A cloned embryo starts its life out in the same matter as everything else and grows cell by cell.
Indeed, there is no guarantee that the resulting human adult clone will be an exact replica of the doner. Human cloning is much more complex.
Dolly the Sheep
Cloning exploded in popularity in the summer of 1996 with the announcement of the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep. Using a method referred to as somatic cell nuclear transfer, the nucleus of an adult cell was implanted into the embryo of an unfertilized egg.
Following the success of Dolly, mice, horses, and pigs were also successfully cloned. Scientists have continued on with limited success of cloning many different forms of animals from domestic to extinct species.
Endless Possibilities for Human Cloning
The vast possibilities for the uses of cloning are endless.
With the continued success of cloning all matter of animals, Parents would have the ability to clone a deceased or lost family pet.
Farmers would have the added resource of using cloned livestock in meat production. What medical advances could be achieved through the success of cloning?
Realising the Benefits of Human Cloning
Use of Cloning in Medical Science
The medical possibilities regarding cloning are endless.
Doctors would be able to use cloned organs and tissue for donors who might otherwise not be able to find a suitable replacement.
Such debilitating diseases, like Alzheimer’s, could benefit from damaged cells being replaced with healthy ones.
Old age could be reversed if there was an option to replace damaged parts broken down from years of use, and sometimes abuse.
Besides the general safety concerns regarding human cloning, since most cloned animals have suffered from severe birth defects, supporters of human cloning also have to battle the ethical issues regarding cloning.
Is a clone human and if not, is it acceptable to clone organs to save lives?
The Medical Ethics of Human Cloning
Detractors argue that scientists should not interfere with nature.
It is the ancient argument about not playing God. But is there a difference between cloning and having doctors manipulate genetics for a couple who are having trouble conceiving?
The lines begin to blur, the arguments become generalized and it seems safer to fall on the side of precaution.
But the potential benefits gained from cloning technology should outweigh the negatives if the science can be perfected.