In-Depth: Since Dolly the sheep
became the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell, a
fierce debate has raged over the ethics human cloning, even though no
person has been successfully cloned.
Opponents of reproductive human cloning have raised concerns about the social problems
that might arise from creating a person who is genetically identical to
another who previously existed or is still alive. They argue that this
could create conflicts with religious and social values about human dignity, individual freedom or autonomy, and personal identity.
Those that support the reproductive cloning of humans
point out that it would give infertile couples the ability have
children of their own. It might also help people suffering from disease
that need an organ transplant or lead to a related medical breakthrough
because of the scientific research required to successfully clone a
There is also therapeutic cloning,
which involves the creation of a human embryo for the purpose of
destroying it to use the embryonic stem cells it produces in treating a
person suffering from disease or injury. While therapeutic cloning
offers that advantage, detractors often argue that destroying an embryo
is akin to destroying human life which can’t be justified by helping the
Sponsoring Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) makes the argument, with his bill and in public speeches, that for him human cloning is morally wrong:
“What you’re doing is you’re creating something that is a human being – that’s the genetics of it. It’s something we should say we draw the line on. You can envision this ‘Matrix’-like thing where you’re actually growing clones over a matter of time to try and harvest, later on, the organs."
Of Note: Over 30 countries have banned human cloning
for reproductive purposes, while France, Germany and Switzerland
prohibit also prohibit it for therapeutic reasons. England, Singapore,
Sweden, China, and Israel allow cloning for research but prohibit it for
It was announced in May 2016 that a team of scientists might begin research into creating animals that have human organs
(or chimeras) that could provide for more advanced scientific research
or even allow for transplants to ill humans. The National Institutes of
Health has imposed a moratorium on the project’s funding to give officials time to consider the ethical issues raised by the research.
Media:Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: via Wikimedia Commons)