Danling Zhao





Moralityof Cloning EndangeredAnimals

Cloning,as it stands today, is a technology that allows animals to bereplicated. From an outside perspective, it is almost like magic.cloning is the process of producing similar populations ofgenetically identical individuals that occurs in nature whenorganisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually.The topic discussed here is cloning of “endangered species”.Species is the biological name given to animals while ‘endangered’is a term given to those animals that are on the verge of extinction.For instance, in the whole world there are less than 150 BengalTigers left. This makes them an endangered species.In this paper, drawing from multiple purposes, we look at whatexperts have to say about cloning. Most importantly the ethicalprinciples involved in cloning. It is one thing to modify plant seedsto fight off rodents and pets by way of genetic modification but anentirely different thing to clone animals, by passing the natural wayof reproduction entirely.

Whenit comes to plants, we are not modifying an organism that can bethought of as having an ability to think. If a tree were to be cutdown, most people won’t think of it as “killing something”.Some folks might argue that plants also have life and they die too.However, they cannot think, like say an animal would. This is way,genetically modifying plants is not that much of a big deal.Modifying animals though, an entirely different story, prime forcontroversy.

Cloninghas always been controversial so to say (Friese 2013). Take theexample of genetically modified plant seeds.There has been a lot of debate world over as to whether to consumegenetically modified foodsor not. When plant seeds are modified, scientists are essentiallycreating new type of plant life. To give an animal based comparison,imagine if a genetically modified rabbit with legs were to be born.

Cloningof animals, despite being a new concept has also been under a lot ofdebate in the recent years.The very first cloned animal that was rather popular was a sheep bythe name of “Dolly”. That animal lived a full life and even gavebirth to an offspring. Back then in 1996 when it was born, thequestion was, “whyclonesheep”? In some ways, that was true. Why spend millions of dollars,cloning sheep that are available in plenty. It was like doing sciencefor the sake of science. A lot of times, technologycomes first and then its applications are thought of later(Haugen, Susan,and Kacy2009). Back when smartphones were introduced, no person imagined theywould become as ubiquitous as they are today. This is clearly a goodexample of revolution. Similarly, the same has to happen withcloning. Going back to the example of Bengal tigers and theirextinction, Friese (2013) argues that one way to cancel outextinction is to restorethe natural environment.That itself is a challenge because wildlife reserves are dwindlingevery day. Even if someone would rebuild their natural reserves, itall comes down to “Hope”. We will have to hope that these 150tigers will get together, reproduce, and grow their numbers. Thiscould take years and chances are that they will probably go extinctanyway. Thealternative is cloning.Cloning can be done in a controlled environment. It is possible toclone multiple animals at the same time, and increase the number oftigers that are around. Imagine doing this all those animals that areout there, facing extinction. If done right, cloning could allowspecies to live.

Cibelli(2013) says there are in two ways to clone ananimal – Artificial Embryo Twinning and Somatic Cell NuclearTransfer. We will talk about cloning done with the second method,which is Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer or Somatic Cloning for short.We are choosing this method because this was how Dolly the sheep was“created”.Dolly went on to live a healthy life (comparable to regular sheep)and even gave birth to offspring’s. Other animals that have beencloned since Dolly are also done via Somatic Cloning. So, we aregoing to focus on this instead of Artificial Embryo Twinning.

InSomatic Cloning, the first step will be to collect the “somaticcell”. A somatic cell is any cell in the body that is not part ofthe reproductive setup. This means, any cell other than the sperm orthe egg (called as germ cells) is a somatic cell. It is to be notedhere that somatic cell contain two sets of chromosomes unlike germcells which only contain one pair. During reproduction, each germcell contributes one set of chromosome each to form a pair.Insideevery cell, there is a compartment called nucleus. It is here thatthe two strands of DNA are stored. As part of the cloning process, asomatic cell is first extracted from an adult animal, and then an eggcell is obtained. This egg cell also has a nucleus which is emptiedout. Now, the nucleus form the somatic cell is moved to the egg cell.Thanks to this movement, the cell will start acting like it wasfertilized. In other words, the effect is seen after successfulreproduction. After this, it is just a matter of allowing the egg togrow as it normally would and the animal is born. This animal will beexact replica – genetically speaking – making it a clone(Liebert,200).

Thereis a lot of controversy surrounding cloning. However, perhaps thefolks who are against it could make some exceptions. For instance,even the army allows people from specific religions to not have toshave or wear a helmet. Those who are against cloning should not tryand apply a blanket ban on cloning.

PlayingGod has its perks and drawbacks too. (Vönekyand Rüdiger 2013). Onone side, cloning gives birth to animals. However, for everysuccessfully cloned animal, there are dozens that do not quitesurvive. According to the article on [Argumentsfor &quotreproductive Cloning&quot.],the only way to ensure that the rate of success improves is moreresearch, and this won’t happen until people stop complaining andstart supporting. This would also mean to imply that the scientistsare allowed to play God. On the outset, thismight seem crazy. However, we are already playing god in so manyways. There are alreadymany animals that have been cloned.

Thearticle [Argumentsagainst &quotReproductive Cloning&quot.]argues that Playing God has become sort of a norm in today’ssociety, because it has always been happening in some form. However,the biggest fear with cloning is what are the chances that someonewill not clone a human being? There are limits toplaying God but who will decide what these limits are?Hereis a simple scenario. Suppose a top genetics researcher in cloningrealizes that he is going to die, and therefore, decides that he willmake a clone of himself!

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 life line. 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.


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.

Cibelli,Jose B. Principlesof Cloning.Amsterdam: Academic Press, 2013. Internet resource.

Liebert,Mary Ann. &quotCloning and Stem Cells.&quot CellularReprogramming17.3 (2015): 151-234. Print.

Vöneky,Silja, and Rüdiger Wolfrum. Humandignity and human cloning.Springer, 2013.

Argumentsfor &quotreproductive Cloning&quot.Washington, D.C.: President`s Council on Bioethics, 2002. Internetresource

Argumentsagainst &quotReproductive Cloning&quot.Staff Working Paper 3b