The Reality of Human Cloning
As aptly put by Rosa Beddington, the word “clone” has become one of the most emotive of all the terms coined by scientists which have entered popular vocabulary. I shall add another, and that will be the phrase “Dolly the sheep”. The conception of Dolly, the “baby” of scientist Ian Wilmut and his team has opened the possibility of cloning humans. The mention of Dolly brings to average the person, haunting connotations of “future replicas of living megalomaniacs and the resurrected dead”. Indeed, Dolly has provided misconceptions about cloning, which, to a certain extent is skewed.
Deliberate cloning is as old as horticulture itself and is nothing new. It has yielded numerous benefits, particularly in the area of medicine and horticulture. So has other breakthrough scientific discoveries like In- vitro fertilization (IVF) and organ transplants. The fear factor with regards to cloning is only this: cloning humans. Recent newspaper articles report on the cloning of embryos in China. (The Straits Times 2/8/02) The possibility is very real and the implications even more magnified. Are we playing God? To what extent will having human clones affect society? The questions are endless. Predicting the future of human cloning at present is indeed futile as it will only yield more needless speculations.
As much as I recognize the dangers of human cloning, I see the hoo- ha of human cloning a matter of perspective and time frame. All the attention given it is a passing phase. Ever since the advent of the industrial revolution, mankind has demonstrated his unquenchable thirst for discovery through science and technology. The fields of medicine, computing, electronics were founded because of research done by numerous groups of people who wanted to find more answers to unexplained phenomena and to cure, solve and discover. A few centuries back, no one thought that tuberculosis could be cured but it subsequently could. The uproar of test tube babies by ethical and religious groups when the first of such babies was born was deafening. Through the...