Seeing double?

By Heather DiLalla
February 21, 2003

Lauren Joseph

Could parents one day have the opportunity to clone their fatally ill children? Could Hitler or Elvis be brought back to life? Could humans be cloned for the sole purpose of using their organs? Would clones have rights and legal protection?

Cloning is becoming one of the more popular debates lately. It is defined as an individual grown from a single body cell of its parent and genetically identical to the parent or a copy of an original form. It is common believe that if a person would be cloned, they would look identical to each other. First, the clone has to be born, so it begins life as a young child. It could possible grow up to resemble the original person, but it is not always true. Many researchers are intrigued with the idea of people being able to watch themselves grow up. They could conduct experiments between the person and their clone to see how they were affected by their environment while growing up.

Researchers believe they have the ability to clone a human embryo and use its cells and tissues to help a sick person. The embryo would die during this process, but the sick human would be cured. Researchers believe that certain illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and heart failure could be cured with the process of cloning. Other studies show that the aging process could be reversed with the help of cloning. It has the possibility of becoming the fountain of youth, by taking off 20 or more years off your life. Cosmetic procedures could no longer need silicone or other artificial material. Instead, they would be able to use real tissues and fat for the implants or surgeries.

On the one hand, people argue that cloning has the opportunity to save lives; while others disagree by saying, it is unjust and unethical. The catholic religion believes that there is no justification for cloning. Others think it is too soon to tell if cloning is safe and how much it would help other people out. Katie Whoriskey, a junior whose major is early childhood elementary education, feels torn between whether cloning is something that should be allowed. She thinks it is great that cloning could potentially save lives, but at the same time feels that it is unethical to take the lives of unborn embryos.

“I have mixed feelings about cloning. If they can figure out a way to where they wouldn’t kill the embryo’s, I think it would be great,” Brooke Petterdozzi, a junior said.

If a man cloned himself, would the child be that man’s son or his twin brother? The answer is it would be neither; it would have its own category as being just his clone. Now, would a clone be a human with rights or would it have an owner? Would the clone be open to all of the education and job opportunities offered? There are so many unanswered questions pertaining to cloning.

In 1997, researchers at Scotland’s Roslin Institute sparked worldwide debate when they announced the cloning of a sheep named Dolly. The event brought many questions to the table about the possibility of cloning a human and its ethical concerns. In 1999, scientists noticed that the cells in Dolly’s body cloned from a 6-year-old sheep had started to show signs of wear more typical of an older animal. Then in January 2002, her creators announced she had developed arthritis at the relatively early age of 5 1/2 years. The decision to end the life of 6 year old Dolly was made Feb. 14, after a veterinary examination confirmed the lung disease. Dolly’s premature death is primarily caused by her old cells, from which she was cloned, leaving even more questions unanswered. Would cloning a human mean that the life span would be drastically shorter?

There are presently hundreds of animal clones around the world, including cows, pigs, mice and goats, many of them are healthy. However, they have failed in several attempts to clone. On some occasions, the animals were born with oversized organs, deformities or died while still in the womb.

“I disagree with cloning because it would be weird to see two of my friends walking around. I mean, would they be real people or just zombies?” Jen Wilcox, a junior said.

Other reasons for cloning might include replacing lost and repopulating endangered or even extinct species.

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Heather DiLalla

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