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Human Cloning Can Make Immortality A Reality

4105 words - 16 pages

Congress, the president, foreign countries, political activists, companies, consumers, churches, ethicists, doctors, patients, and even scientists have entered the fervent debate on cloning. The March edition of the Life Extension Foundation’s (LEF) magazine vocally calls for American citizens to write to their Senators and stop an anti-cloning bill from passage through both Houses (See Figure 1.) While the public argues over short-term questions – such as what is the definition of cloning, at what point does life begin, and is cloning bad – we must examine the hidden future potential and consequences of therapeutic cloning. Scientists’ direct contact with cloning technology grants us the opportunity to more accurately realize its promise than almost any other group of “experts.” Consequently, we should recognize that cellular rejuvenation poses a legitimate threat to society in ways unimagined by the general populace. The founder of Advanced Cell Technologies (ACT), Michael West, Ph.D., has grasped the breathtaking regenerative possibilities of somatic cell nuclear transfer and his team is currently experimenting with parthenogenesis to fully understand the process of oocyte fertilization (Cibelli et al, “Somatic” 25; Cibelli et al, “The First” 45). ACT is preparing for a far weightier issue than the present intense deliberation on the ethics of human reproductive cloning: Perpetual regeneration at the cellular level produces human immortality!

The biological contraptions that make regenerative medicine possible are totipotent and pluripotent stem cells, whose immortal lineage provides superior versatility over differentiated cells. Recent studies reveal the therapeutic prospects of stem cell research. In 1998, Thomson broke new ground when he isolated human stem cells and after five months obtained crucial results: specialized cells including those of the epithelium, bone, and ganglion variety grew in culture. A year later, Pittenger determined that media conditions led to specific paths in cell differentiation (qtd in Edwards 351). In September 2001, Synder published promising data on neuron replacement therapy in primates, but nevertheless, his earlier report on the successful recovery of rodent neural cortexes highlight the obstacles present when working with primate brains, due to their complexity (Ourednik et al 1820; Yandava et al 7029). Despite the rapid developments in controlling stem cells’ differentiation mechanisms, histocompatibility concerns compelled ACT to invent novel procedures, which theoretically prevent the rejection of transplants (Autologous). Thomson concurs with West’s team’s plans to resolve possible immune system conflicts, however, Pittenger contends that his tests show that the immune system is surprisingly unperturbed in proximity to unfamiliar stem cells (May 60). In any case, the latest papers on nuclear transfer and parthenogenesis are landmark documents since both techniques exclusively focus on...

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