Human cloning refers to the production of an identical copy of a man other than the natural sexual reproduction involving fertilization of eggs and sperms. Here are the facts about human cloning that you must know:
1. Human cloning is possible through a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) in which a nucleus from a somatic cell of an adult human is isolated and inserted into an egg cell (whose nucleus is already removed or inactivated). The integration of this external nucleus into the egg is ensured by the chemical or electric treatments that trigger the cell division leading to the formation of zygote. The zygote is implanted in the womb of surrogate mother with in vitro fertilization. Successful trials reproductive cloning has produced Dolly sheep and can be done for humans too.
2. The other form of human cloning is termed as therapeutic cloning in which the embryo is not implanted in the mother’s womb and rather developed into a stem cell to regenerate specific organ of the donor such as heart, kidney, or liver. These organs when implanted has an added advantage of no risk of tissue rejection because they are the exact copy of the already existing organ of the donor. It is a hope for those suffering from genetic disorders (like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease), organ failure and malfunctioning limbs.
3. Defective genes can cause various abnormalities in human body. No matter how healthy lifestyle a person may adopt, a malfunctioned genes can never be turned normal but with this strategy, the defective genes can be replaced by the healthy ones.
4. It is a myth that clone is the identical copy of an organism. It is because the nucleus is isolated from the donor, but the egg is from another source that carries mitochondrial DNA in the mitochondria. As, the clone is produced with the fusion of genetic material from both sources therefore, it is subjected to altered characters. Moreover, the genetic expression can be changed by environmental factors that cannot be the same.
5. Another myth is that the clone is short-lived however, the recent research have denied this fact and proved that the progression of age is normal however, the clone is more prone to immune related disorders that can lead to death at any stage.
6. The clone does not have biological parents as it is produced by asexual method. Also, it cannot be declared as the daughter/son of the donor as it is the clone of it. This rises an ethical question on the adaptability of this technique on humans.
7. It is a myth that the clone is of same age as its donor. Inspite of the fact that a clone is developed from an adult cell, it still begins its journey as an infant.
8. It has the potential to overcome infertility issues. As, it doesn’t involve fusion of sex cells, so infertile couples can have babies.
9. Human cloning is declared illegal in many countries except England where it is allowed to be used for therapeutic purposes only.
The prime ethical concern about human cloning is the creation of a human
merely to destroy it, after obtaining the concerned benefits (organs in case of