Therapeutic Vs. Reproductive Cloning Essay

1813 words - 8 pages

For decades, cloning was merely a topic mentioned in the text of science fiction novels. It was simply a fictitious fantasy that proved to only be for entertainment purposes. However, while all those novels and films were being produced, a multitude of scientists attempted to make what society thought of as a dream, into a reality. The science of cloning is the process of making genetic duplicate of an organism. The scientific history of cloning spans more than 100 years dating back to 1885, and still going strong today. In general, there are two main purposes for cloning: therapeutic or reproductive. Reproductive cloning is performed with the intent of making a complete organism. Therapeutic cloning is performed to harvest stem cells for use in medical treatment, such as cloning organs for transplant. There are benefits and consequences for each process that have sparked ethical and scientific debate over the years. With the help of advancements in technology in the future, cloning can provide medical breakthroughs.
The process of cloning has existed for decades. Plants have been cloned for years now, although, cloning was never recognized until February 22, 1997 when the first mammal (Dolly the Sheep) was cloned from an adult cell (“Cloning Dolly The Sheep”). Dolly was named after Dolly Parton, the mammary cell that was cloned after giving birth at the Roslin Institute. The cloning of Dolly sparked much discussion and debate that has stuck around today. Dolly was the first successful reproductive clone. What first started out as the first ever demonstration of artificial embryo in 1885 quickly transformed into the success of cloning animals such as sheep, cows, and mice (“The History of Cloning”). With the help of decades of medical research and experiments, cloning a human is now possible. Because of technological advancements throughout the past few decades, more is possible with cloning, including reproductive cloning. Although controversial and constantly debated, with the help of reproductive cloning, one can clone an organ that an organism may need, causing the organism to ultimately survive longer.
Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is the scientific name for the process of cloning. Clones made through SCNT are produced the same way; the only difference is what is done with the cloned embryos once they are created. Therapeutic cloning is intended for medical use. The therapeutic process mainly attempts to harvest embryonic stem cells for use in medical treatment, not to duplicate the organism. The embryonic stem cells are cells found in embryos that are currently developing and can be used to produce other cells. The therapeutic cloning process involves taking out the embryonic stem cells from the developing embryo causing the embryo to die. Once this is complete, disease-free cells are then taken from the medical patient and the nucleus is extracted. The cell is then transferred into an empty donor egg stimulated to divide using...

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