The Disadvantages of Cloning Human Beings

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The Disadvantages of Cloning Human Beings
Cloning is the artificial creation of human beings. (Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Cloning human beings is the process of creating individuals who are genetically identical through scientific methods. The issue of cloning in general, and cloning human beings in particular, has been a topic of hot debate with consenting and dissenting opinions, ever since Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned in 1996. There are several arguments against the cloning of human beings.

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Abuse of the Sanctity of Human Life

Human cloning is a process which involves taking an egg from a human woman, removing the nucleus, replacing it with the genetic material from the nucleus of another adult cell, and using "electric shock" or "chemical bath" to trick the egg into thinking it has been fertilised. The egg then starts to divide, becoming a human embryo. This process marks a step toward turning the creation of human life into something that can be seen as a kind of manufacturing process where human beings are created in laboratories on demand, and to certain specifications.

Health Risks

Just like inbreeding and linebreeding in selective breeding, cloning human beings carries a significant risk of creating human beings who are unhealthy, stillborn or severely disabled. This is because of the loss of diversity of genes which leads to intensification of the good and bad qualities of the donor's genes in the successive generations. Also, a newly cloned baby may look like a baby, but carry the genes of a forty-year-old, which would surely have serious implications for the health of the child, who might suffer from diseases common to people in the older bracket, such as arthritis, even at a young age.

Social Concerns

Cloned individuals would face a lot of social stigma and legal complications. It could create confusion as to the position of the individual in the family and the society at large. A cloned child would have only one parent who would also be its genetic twin.

Ethics

Cloning is believed by many to be a violation of basic human ethics, as it involves the creation of human beings, which a lot of people feel is "playing God." There is also the question of therapeutic cloning, where human embryos are produced and used for research. The purpose of producing human embryos in stem cell research is to harvest the stem cells, which can be used to learn more about human development and to treat disease. This raises a lot of ethical concerns because stem cells are extracted from the egg after it has divided for five days, and the extraction process destroys the eggs.

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