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Debate: Therapeutic cloning

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Is therapeutic cloning a good idea?

Background and context

In genetics and developmental biology, somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a laboratory technique for creating a clonial embryo, using an ovum with a donor nucleus (see process below). It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or, potentially, in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as "therapeutic cloning." It can also be used as the first step in the process of reproductive cloning.

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Yes

  • Cloning is in this respect no different from any other new medical technology. Research is required on embryos in order to quantify and reduce the risk of the procedures. Embryo research is permitted in Britain until the fourteenth day of embryo development. Many other Western countries are also actively engaged in embryo research. The thousands of ‘spare’ embryos generated each year by IVF procedures and destroyed could be used to the good purpose of human cloning research.
  • Cloning will likely lead to major medical advancements/save lives'. Simon Smith. "The Benefits of Human Cloning". Human Cloning.org - "Hope - On the Charlie Rose television show on February 14th, 2001, three anti-cloners debated against one reporter. The anti-cloners made the case for stem cell research while alleging that cloning itself would not result in any major scientific breakthroughs. It is likely that the anti-cloners are quite wrong. Learning the process of reprogramming, differentiation, and dedifferentiation is likely to result in just as many medical miracles as stem cell research. The two lines of research go hand in hand and should complement each other. The three anti-cloners came across as people who would destroy hope. The kept alleging that things were impossible. They reminded me of the same types of people who proclaimed that cloning was impossible years ago. Furthermore, they seemed happy and willing to take away the hope of infertile couples and others with severe diseases that human cloning technology might one day lessen their suffering or save their lives. The anti-cloners also seemed to feel that they had the ability to predict the timing and course of science advancement, which history has shown to be folly."
  • Cloning can produce new cells (and organs) to replace dead ones. Simon Smith. "The Benefits of Human Cloning". Human Cloning.org - "There has been a breakthrough with human stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can be grown to produce organs or tissues to repair or replace damaged ones. Skin for burn victims, brain cells for the brain damaged, spinal cord cells for quadriplegics and paraplegics, hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys could be produced. By combining this technology with human cloning technology it may be possible to produce needed tissue for suffering people that will be free of rejection by their immune systems. Conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, heart failure, degenerative joint disease, and other problems may be made curable if human cloning and its technology are not banned."
  • Opponents of cloning will have to deny the sick that request it. Simon Smith. "The Benefits of Human Cloning". Human Cloning.org - "Because the sick will demand it - Those resisting human cloning research will probably find themselves shouted down by the sick and the maimed who desperately need such research. Human cloning technology promises to cure many or all incurable diseases and the moral weight of the dying and infirm will undoubtedly sway the politicians more than the arguments of the healthy, who often remain ignorant of the potential of human cloning, because they have never been motivated by suffering to look desperately for a cure."



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