Human Cloning - Should it be done?
by R. Aditya Narayan
Page 1 of 7
The debate on human cloning is probably like none other,
touching science, ethics and the law together and at such vitality. The miracle
of producing man from man has aroused the interest of many, some hell bent on
making it a reality, some more conservative in approach. This article analysis
both sides and provides a third perspective.
To formulate an answer to the above question, there is a need
to understand the concept of cloning. Cloning is a process of production
of one or more plants or animals possessing the same genetic structure as
another plant or animal. Cloning can be done in two essential
Embryo cloning - wherein the
duplication takes place at the embryo stage of reproduction, and not after cell
differentiation. The cell from the embryo that possesses the DNA material of
animal is planted in another embryo. Thus, both the embryos now have the same
genetic structure. Hence, the two individuals formed from the two embryos will
have the same genetic structure. They will thus be clones of one another.
Adult cloning - involves similar
planting of the cell into an embryo. The difference lies in the fact that in
this case, the DNA material is obtained from a formed individual, and not from
another embryo. The individual that takes birth by this process will be a clone
of the individual whose DNA material was used, inasmuch as they will have the
same genetic structure. In 1997, this process produced the sheep Dolly, which
was produced in the Roslin Institute in Roslin, Scotland.
There is a general misconception that cloned individuals are
identical in very way, their thoughts are alike, and they have equal abilities
and disabilities. It is not so. Physically though, the two will be identical.
All genetic qualities of two persons will be the same. If the DNA of the donor
had a defect, by which he was suffering from a genetic disease like Tay Sachs
diabetes, then the same will surface in the cloned individual. Other attributes
which have a genetic origin, like height, skin colour, etc will also be the
same. However, attributes acquired by DNA donor which are not genetic is nature
will not be transferred. A clone of Sachin Tendulkar will not possess the same
batting prowess as Sachin. But he could acquire skills to becoming a rocket
scientist, something Sachin may not be able to do.
The DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid is the genetic code of all
individuals. Its structure is a helix. Purine and pyramidine bases are stacked
across the two strands forming the helix, creating the impression of a spiral
staircase. It is the order of these bases that keep varying from individual to
individual. Hence, what genetically identical individuals refer to is that the
order of the purine and pyramidine bases is identical.
Nature itself is the greatest cloning agent. In about one of
every 75 human conceptions, the fertilised ovum splits for some unknown reason
and produces monozygotic (identical) twins. Each has a genetic makeup identical
to the other. In cloning, this same operation is done intentionally in a
Human cloning, if it ever occurs, will
involve two either of the two processes:
The first way involves splitting an embryo into
several halves and creating many new individuals from that embryo. The
second method of cloning a human involves taking cells from an
already existing human being and cloning them, in turn creating other
individuals that are identical to that particular person.Next Page
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