Benefitsof Cloning Endangered Species
Cloning,as it stands today, is a technology that allows animals to bereplicated. From an outside perspective, it is almost like magic. Insimple terms, cloning is a laboratory process through whichscientists produce identical individuals of different populations orspecies. The topic discussed here is cloning of “endangeredspecies”. Species is the biological name given to animals while‘endangered’ is a term given to those animals that are on theverge of extinction. For instance, in the whole world there are lessthan 150 Bengal Tigers left. This means that Bengal Tigers are anendangered species. In this paper, drawing from multiple purposes, welook at what experts have to say about cloning. Most importantly theethical principles involved in cloning. It is one thing to modifyplant seeds to fight off rodents and pets by way of geneticmodification but an entirely different thing to clone animals, bypassing the natural way of reproduction entirely. Thus, when it comesto cloning scientists actually create copies of the DNA fragments,Cells, or organisms.
Cloninghas always been controversial so to say (Friese 2013). This isbecause many people who are against cloning claim that this is justas taking over Gods work of Creation. On the other hand, those insupport of cloning claim that cloning leads to production ofhealthier animals or ensures that they do not become extinct. Cloningof animals, despite being a new concept has also been under a lot ofdebate in the recent years.Thevery first cloned animal that was rather popular was a sheep by thename of “Dolly”. That animal lived a full life and even gavebirth to an offspring. Back then in 1996 when it was born, thequestion was, “why clone sheep?" In some ways, that was true.Why spend millions of dollars, cloning sheep that are available inplenty. It was like doing science for the sake of science.A lot oftimes, technology comes first and then its applications are thoughtof later (Haugen, Susan, and Kacy 2009). Back when smartphones wereintroduced, no person imagined they would become as ubiquitous asthey are today. This is clearly a good example of revolution.Similarly, the same has to happen with cloning.Going back to theexample of Bengal tigers and their extinction Friese (2013) arguesthat one way to cancel out extinction is to restore the naturalenvironment.That itself is a challenge because wildlife reserves aredwindling every day. Even if someone would rebuild their naturalreserves, it all comes down to “Hope”. We will have to hope thatthese 150 tigers will get together, reproduce, and grow theirnumbers. This could take years and chances are that they willprobably go extinct anyway. The alternative is cloning. Cloning canbe done in a controlled environment. It is possible to clone multipleanimals at the same time, and increase the number of tigers that arearound.
Cibelli(2013) says there are two ways to clone an animal – ArtificialEmbryo Twinning and Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. We will talk aboutcloning done with the second method, Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer orSomatic Cloning in short. This option has been selected because itdoes not involve destruction of viable embryos, as is the case inArtificial Embryo Twinning. In Somatic Cloning, the first step willbe to collect the “somatic cell”. A somatic cell is any cell inthe body that is not part of the reproductive setup. This means, anycell other than the sperm or the egg (called as germ cells) is asomatic cell. It is to be noted here that somatic cell contain twosets of chromosomes unlike germ cells which only contain one pair.During reproduction, each germ cell contributes one set of chromosomeeach to form a pair.Inside every cell, there is a compartment callednucleus. It is here that the two strands of DNA are stored. As partof the cloning process, a somatic cell is first extracted from anadult animal, and then an egg cell is obtained. This egg cell alsohas a nucleus, which is emptied out. Now, the nucleus form thesomatic cell is moved to the egg cell. Thanks to this movement, thecell will start acting like it was fertilized. In other words, theeffect is seen after successful reproduction. After this, it is justa matter of allowing the egg to grow, as it would have normallydeveloped thus leading to the creation of a clone (Liebert,2015).
Althoughwe understand the ongoing debate about cloning, it is important tonote that sometimes some exceptions need to be made, like in the caseof extinct animals or animals about to go extinct (Vönekyand Rüdiger 2013). Thus, in order to ensure that we preserve ourwildlife, we might have sometimes to adapt to such measures.On one side, cloning gives birth to animals. However, for everysuccessfully cloned animal, there are dozens that do not quitesurvive. Although, according to the article on [Argumentsfor "reproductive Cloning".],the only way to ensure that the rate of success improves is to givemore funding, it is important to first let people stop complainingand start supporting the process. Thus, it is important to firstseparate cloning from religion on certain grounds so that it does notappear that we are taking over Gods work. On the outset, this mightseem crazy, but this is the only way that cloning may be allowedunder certain circumstances. Let us take the simplest of evolutionarytheories. Darwin said, only the fittest are supposed to survive(Vönekyand Rüdiger 2013).However,thanks to advances in technology, even the weakest of men, women andchildren get to live an almost normal life. Thus, if one were toobject to cloning, then perhaps we should also object to medicinesthat allow us to extend our lifetimes and foods that improve ourwellbeing.
Thearticle [Argumentsagainst "Reproductive Cloning".]argues thatPlaying God has become sort of a norm in today’ssociety, because it has always been happening in some form. Here is asimple scenario. Suppose a top genetics researcher in cloningrealizes that he is going to die, and therefore, decides that he willmake a clone of himself. This will set a precedent for otherresearchers to clone themselves whenever they have either a medicalcondition or realize they are about to die. In the end, this will notbe good, as every individual who can afford the process will want aclone of themselves. Thus, the biggest fear with cloning is what arethe chances that someone will clone a human being? There are limitsto playing God but who will decide what these limits are?
Cloningis not without its problems. However, it is a technology that can dosomething that no other technology can do right now. It can allowanimals that are almost extinct to receive a lifeline. Animals arejust like people, and simply putting a male and female animal into ahabitat is not going to make them reproduce. Cloning can remove theelement of uncertainty. Sure, there are challenges. There is thedanger that someone might end up cloning a human. Eventually, someonesomewhere will end up cloning an extinct type of monkey, and humancloning is probably a step away. However, all technology is filledwith danger but we use it anyway. The drawbacks of cloning faroutweigh the negatives, and it is about time we gave it our fullsupport.
Cibelli,Jose B. Principlesof Cloning.Amsterdam: Academic Press, 2013. Internet resource.
Friese,Carrie. CloningWild Life: Zoos, Captivity, and the Future of Endangered Animals.New York: New York UP, 2013. Print.
Haugen,David M, Susan Musser, and Kacy Lovelace. TheEthics of Cloning.Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Print.
Liebert,Mary Ann. "Cloning and Stem Cells." CellularReprogramming17.3 (2015): 151-234. Print.
Vöneky,Silja, and Rüdiger Wolfrum. Humandignity and human cloning.Springer, 2013. Print
Argumentsfor "reproductive Cloning".Washington, D.C.: President`s Council on Bioethics, 2002. Internetresource
Argumentsagainst "Reproductive Cloning".Staff Working Paper 3b