The Great Human Embryo Clone Hype
Abstract: The cloning of human embryos has sparked a major debate worldwide. New cloning methods have surpassed the technology that could only duplicate specified genes or produce offspring from frozen mice and human embryos. Cloning has been used to free would-be sufferers from a particular disease carrying gene. Likewise, out of desire to assist infertile couples and overcome the drawbacks of using in-vitro fertilization, came the newest method of cloning. Although skepticism exists because of the lack of regulation and the extreme possibilities considered such as cloning for hair and eye color or for a particular gender, with proper regulation, researchers and doctors intend to embrace this modern and unpredictable technology as our newest weapon in combating health related problems.
There is a lot of commotion going in Washington, D.C. It has nothing to do with White Water or the White House, but everything to do with politics and people. There is constant clamour surrounding the issue of cloning technique application for various purposes including the elimination of defective genes which cause disease and an alternative mean of human embryo reproduction. In modern science, three types of cloning exists, positional cloning (genes), Jurassic Park cloning (nucleus), and blastomere separation (human embryos). According to Conley, "The recent experiment in human cloning in Washington, D.C. has provoked moral unease in the public. Both specialists and lay persons sense that this new technology is fraught with ethical and political peril," (2). Well, in such protests there is a hint of hypocrisy. Society has already embraced in-vitro fertilization, which is a form of human genetic engineering. The fact is that we are already well down the path leading to genetic manipulation. Why stop now? Although there have been various arguments proposed against the use of any cloning techniques, there are healthcare issues that validate the use of cloning procedures.
Controversy has developed from the fear of how cloning will be used. Since the late 1980's cloning techniques have been used to identify certain genes that cause disease. The primary work of the 'Human Genome Project' was to develop three research tools that will allow scientists to identify genes involved in both rare and common disease (Collins, 1995). These gene identification tools are what researchers call positional cloning.
Positional cloning techniques are used to identify genes based solely on their location within the subject's total genetic material or genome. There is no prior knowledge of the genes function within the region of which the gene is identified. Positional cloning techniques for confirming the role of susceptible genes rely on sufficient prior understanding of the disease process to implicate possible disease-related genes. The three tools involved in positional cloning are 1) The Physical Map (Figure...