Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Technology has advanced a great deal within the past few years. We have learned so much information about animals' genes and what can be done with them. However, with this new information brings new questions and arguments. So far, scientists have successfully cloned a sheep, a monkey, a bull, and are working on an endangered breed of ox, of course cloning animals and conducting research on those animals does not concern many people. When people begin discussing cloning and stem cell research heads turn because it is such a controversial issue. Is it morally right to destroy a life so that maybe someday others could live?
According to an article in People Weekly the theory is that embryonic stem cells could replace any damaged or diseased tissue, curing diseases like Alzheimer?s, Parkinson?s, and diabetes. Sounds like a winning plan to the uneducated hear. The problem that arises with this theory is that scientists must destroy human embryos to make the cells.
Michael West, the chief executive of Advanced Cell Technology a Worcester, Massachusetts based company where a majority of their cells come from embryos left over from In Vitro Fertilization. In Vitro Fertilization, is a process where the sperm from a male and an egg from a female are fertilized outside of the human body in a laboratory. When scientists perform this procedure generally the scientists will extract more than one embryo from the female to ensure that at least one will be fertilized. The rest of the cells are then extra and are not needed. West and other scientists at Advanced Cell Technology have proposed producing stem cells from cloned embryos. This may lead to treatments in which damaged tissue is replaced with what are essentially the patient?s own cells. West also explains that unlike other types of cells, embryonic stem cells can probably reproduce forever. ?These cells will grow for researchers until the last researcher on the Earth,? ads West (Herper).
When asked in a CNN.com chat room, ?When do scientists consider an embryo a life?? Dr. Jeffrey Kahn the Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota responded with this. ?It depends on the scientist, but you would get views ranging from ?at conception? to ?at birth.? Many people consider the stage of embryos we are talking about to be ?pre-embryos? since they are so early in their development.?
Some scientists believe that there are many advantages in allowing human cloning
to proceed. Dr. Richard Seed, an advocate for human cloning suggests that some day it may be possible to reverse the aging process from what could be learned through cloning. Scientists also believe that they might be able to help heart attack victims by cloning the person?s healthy heart cells and injecting them into the areas of their heart that were damaged from the heart attack. Through cloning, infertile couples could also be able to have children. It is a fact that...