An exploration of cloning adult mammals:
Additional Comments from Online NewsHour Visitors
March 10, 1997
Dr. John Fetcher of the University of Virginia Department of Medicine answers questions about the Ethics of Cloning
Dr. Neal First of the University of Wisconsin Department of Meat and Animal Science answers questions about the Science of Cloning
To return to the Discussion Introduction
February 24, 1997:
A background report on the cloning of sheep in Scotland.
February 24, 1997:
A technical discussion on the science of genetic engineering.
February 24, 1997:
A discussion on the ethics of genetic engineering and cloning mammals.
April 3, 1996:
Fred De Sam Lazaro reports on scientific advances in genetic research and the ethical questions they raise.
Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland report on cloning sheep.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science news brief on the Scottish cloning experiment.
The Genetics and Public Issues Program at The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) discusses cloning.
Discussion of Ethics and Social Issues in Gene Research at the Human Genome Project.
Browse the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics home page.
Darryl Crosby of Kent, OH writes:
Of course cloning will be used in negative ways. First of all what is positive or negative as far as science, politics and economics is still open to debate. What technology has ever been created that could not be appropriated by the military (ours or theirs) for the purpose of political control.
Just because a certain set of scientists claim to have our best interests at heart, history shows us that once a technology is created it tends to eventually (for negative purposes). As human beings we have yet to solve the most basic of ethical problems: hunger, war, unequitable distribution of wealth.
Furthermore scientists are not bound by democratic processes. They cannot be voted out of their laboratories. If a scientist wants to clone a human being how could you or I possibly stop them? This technology will be driven by money, capital, GREED.
Heaven help us all.
Michael Bodell of Boston, MA, asks:
What's the problem?
I do not understand everyone's problem with cloning of humans. Having people "genetically identical" in the world is not a new thing. Think identical twins. These twins are different organisms with the same genotypes. Is not cloning just another was of ariving at this? If I want to clone myself why should this be a big deal. It will be little different then having a child through sexual reproduction as the clone will be a new organism with as many independent rights as a son or daughter of mine would normally have.
As for cloning becoming the only form of human reproduction leading to some kind of "super" human race I just don't buy it. One, not everyone will feel cloning is right so not everyone will opt for it. Two, cloning will always be more expensive than sex, so there will always be the financial pressure to reproduce sexually. Three, people enjoy sexual reproduction for more than just reproduction, and I don't see people getting the same enjoyment/intimacy from cloning. Therefore I just don't see Dolly as a big threat to society.
Maria Grimaldi of Youngsville, NY, writes:
It appears the day has finally arrived when animal, specifically mammal clones is upon us. So far it is still not clear if this is indeed advantageous from an evolutionary perspective.
Isn't genetic variability the key that insures survival of a species and promotes a natural selection as the more perfect method of producing truly healthy organisms?
Even in the plant world and often in the animal world, hybridization and cloning have often resulted in the eventual demise of "manipulated" product. Are we far enough along in the "real life" experiments to understand the biological and psychological ramifications on a society of these offspring.
Glen Self of Fluvanna Co.,VA, writes:
What is the ethical question about cloning? The cells are fused then continue to divide and are inserted into a host mother. When the embryo comes to term a baby is born. Twenty years later an individual man or woman exists.
I don't see the problem. A person is a person, with the same rights no matter what steps lead up to a viable fetus. Seems like a less fun and more expensive way to do it, but so what?
Much ado about nothing!
Jeanette M. Westbrook of Louisville, KY, writes:
I am appalled at the prospect of human and animal cloning. Need we look any further than the Nazi experiments? Why not ask the surviving victims of the Holocaust and especially the child victims that are now adults about experiments? We as a soceity would like to see ourselves as so differant from the Nazi experimentors. "Not our scientists!" we say. We are in denial that we or any one would use this for evil purpose. The same was said of the atom bomb.
Aaron Fasel of Austin, TX, writes:
First of all, what's the big deal about Cloning as far as "immoralities?"
"What if someone tried to clone Hitler?" I was thinking of "Boys From Brazil," of course. But as that movie suggests, it would take an awful lot to make the clones "bad."
My favorite is "We shouldn't play God" Oh No? Then we shouldn't perform surgery. Or take meds. Or vitamins for that matter.
Science is science. It shouldn't be hampered by moral issues. That is NOT to say that scientists shouldn't consider repercussions! But if they try to second guess everyone (including themselves) they could be doing themselves a huge disservice.
When Einstein said that he wouldn't have revealed his theory of relativity had he know that it would be used for bombs, I think he was in error. He was not in the least bit responsible for the bomb. That's like saying that the Fertilizer companies are responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.
Blair Boudreau of Newton, MA, writes:
I do not believe that cloning will be used only for positive scientific advancement. I believe curiosity and possibly ego, will get the better of some scientist out there. I don't see how we can possibly understand the many ethical and psychological ramifications that come with cloning until mistakes are made. And I feel mistakes will be made. The idea of cloning seems very exciting when one considers the feeding of the entire world population. But if we should proceed, will we be opening a Pandora's box?
Laurent Serriere of Paris, France, writes:Time to reflect might be what is needed.
Being more theologian than scientist, I've pondered long and hard with this issue. I believe in synthesis of all knowledge.
At first look, yes; ethic and moral questions arise. But these are areas of reaction and not reflection. I've heard nothing from scientist or otherwise what effects cloning has on the concept of evolution. Is this similar to pressing the "pause" button of evolution?
Secondly; the debate between creationist and evolutionary beliefs seems to me to have finally been totally crossed. I believe that both "science" and "religion" are simply the flip sides of the same coin.
For answers to questions about the Ethics of Cloning Mammals, click here.
For answers to questions about the Science of Cloning Mammals, click here.
To return to the Discussion Introduction,