Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Is Human Cloning Easier Than Thought? 29

Posted by Hemos
from the mini-hemos! dept.
The Angry Clam writes "Yahoo has this story about how human beings might be easier to clone than sheep like the (in)famous Dolly. Since most of the "cloning is unethical" arguments hinge upon the high rate of defectives produced during attempts to create Dolly, I wonder what this will mean for things like the Cloning Ban, that Italian doctor, and so forth."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Is Human Cloning Easier Than Thought?

Comments Filter:
  • With today's society...why would anyone want to clone others? We have enough stupid people in the world today, so why would we want more??
  • by DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) on Wednesday August 15, 2001 @02:50PM (#2127479) Homepage
    The article said that this may be a solution to one of the many problems they've had cloning different animals, and even if it were the only problem, humans don't have that much of an advantage :

    ``It's like an airplane with two jet engines. You see two nice jet engines and you like it,'' Jirtle said. ``Why? Because you feel comfortable that there's redundancy. In mice and rats, you only have one engine. If it blows, you're done.''

    For example, Killian said that only one in 300 cloned sheep embryos takes hold, and up to half of these embryos experience large offspring syndrome.

    Basically they're saying that because sheep have "one engine", they're harder to clone. But they're losing half of them! I'm hardly willing to accept that "two engines", each with a fifty percent chance of failure is a significant improvement.

    • Actually, if you think about it, they said UP TO half of 1 in 300 sheep experienced abnormal growth, and presumably all died. That works out to, AT BEST, a 99.8% mortality rate. If you told me that two engines would double my chance of survival, I would ask for 103 and a parachute. Oh, and the dancing girls. That's the problem with these so-called researchers; they are more interested in getting their names in the papers. After their research is shown to be nothing but bullshit, they go back in the papers...err...tabloids. "Professor fired from university; clones daughter in tool shed!" Often the easiest answer is the wrong one. Or at least if it isn't wrong, it isn't right either. Of course humans have two copies, whereas sheep have the original. Who are you to say that two is better than one? Or that this is responsible for the respiratory system troubles? They haven't proven shit. These guys need a kick in the nuts. But I am rambling.
    • Indeed. So the clone only receives one of these genes, right? So the clone can'T be cloned himself, because there would be no 'spare gene' to transfert. Suppose cloning one self became a basic right.. Clones would be denied that right because of that genetic defect. The biggest problem I see is creating a race of 'inferior' humans, outcast from the rest of society :/
  • Wouldn't it make much more sense to clone something in the middle? Like a primate of some type before jumping directly to cloning humans.
  • by The Angry Clam (442606) on Thursday August 16, 2001 @12:26AM (#2138453)
    Yes, I admit I waited until my own story got posted to put this up, but it's something I have a personal stake in so I feel strongly about it. See, here's what I find interesting about this whole thing. Like this [savethehumans.com] parody says, people are just plain afraid of cloning. I don't understand why. Here's my personal objections to some of the arguements made against research into human cloning.

    1. Cloning has too high a failure rate, and the destruction of all the zygotes/embryos and/or the birth defects make it immoral to clone at this time. The problem I have with this is that it runs up into the old pro/anti-abortion argument over when a fetus becomes a person. Since the prevailing legal belief over the status of an unborn fetus in the USA is that it is not a full human being and does not have the rights of a human being, I believe this argument must be rejected.

    2. It is not right to decide for the fetus when it will be born. (or some other permutation of the "We shouldn't be playing God" argument). See, here we go again trying to define this little cloned fetus as a person. However, this case is a bit different, since it assumes that the fetus will be carried to term and born. My resonse is that since this is built entirely out of my own DNA, that it is as much my right to decide what to do with it as it is my right to be or to decline to be an organ donor, since those organs are pieces of my body as well. The interesting question is, of course, "then what happens when it's born? Will it be a slave, since it is, in a real sense, yours? Or will it be free, and then what does that mean for people who refuse medical treatments or refuse to be donors?" All of which are, indeed, tricky problems.

    3. This research takes us into realms we've never been before and should be stopped. I've actually heard this one. To which I respond, where is the sense of adventure? Of discovery? Sure there will be casulties, but for what good? Imagine if people didn't explore medicine because it was "playing God with who lives and dies" or if they never bothered to see what lay beyond deserts or oceans because it was a place they'd never been before, or if we halted all space exploration because we were afraid of meeting an alien which would make us question our place in the Universe! I say bring it on! These are part of the neverending quest of humanity to discover and explore, and should not, and must not, be denied by the small-minded politicians in Congress.
    • by Kronus (513720)
      I'd like to address your points: 1. While I will grant you that a fetus does not have the rights of a human (at least in America), that doesn't lessen the immorality of a procedure that is as risky as cloning. For every healthy baby born, you'll get dozens of babies with birth defects, and scores of miscarriages. Perfect the techniques with animals first, than try it on humans. 2. You may not want to define a fetus as a person, but once it's born it certainly will be. Regardless of whether the DNA came from one person or two (parents, sex, that whole thing) a baby, once born, is a person, with the same rights as any other person. After all, just because it has the same DNA as you doesn't mean it is you. It will have it's own memories, personality, etc. 3. On this point I agree with you in principle. However, we shouldn't follow the quest for knowledge blindly. Many scientific findings have moral reprocutions, which must be examined. If we find that, as a people, we aren't mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with progress, then we need to slow down a bit. Cloning is a perfect example. That Italian doctor is so caught up in the "gee whiz!" aspect of cloning he seems to have forgoten that his 200 volunteers will result in a dozen kids going through life with horrible birth defects. That is too high a price to pay for the mere quest of knowledge.
    • "The problem I have with this is that it runs up into the old pro/anti-abortion argument over when a fetus becomes a person. Since the prevailing legal belief over the status of an unborn fetus in the USA is that it is not a full human being and does not have the rights of a human being, I believe this argument must be rejected."

      Or in other words, since this arguement is in conflict with what you believe, it must be rejected. It was illegal for women to vote. It was illegal for blacks to vote. That doens't mean it was right or that you shouldn't push to change those laws. You can't reject an arguement because it goes against the 'prevailing' (ie your own) belief.

      2. It is not right to decide for the fetus when it will be born. (or some other permutation of the "We shouldn't be playing God" argument). See, here we go again trying to define this little cloned fetus as a person.

      Or in other words, you don't think that a fetus can be considered a person, therefore anyone who does think so is wrong and therefore we can reject this arguement as well.

      3. This research takes us into realms we've never been before and should be stopped. I've actually heard this one. To which I respond, where is the sense of adventure? Of discovery? Sure there will be casulties, but for what good? Imagine if people didn't explore medicine because it was "playing God with who lives and dies" or if they never bothered to see what lay beyond deserts or oceans because it was a place they'd never been before, or if we halted all space exploration because we were afraid of meeting an alien which would make us question our place in the Universe! I say bring it on! These are part of the neverending quest of humanity to discover and explore, and should not, and must not, be denied by the small-minded politicians in Congress.

      By "small minded" politician I assume that once again you are saying "those who don't believe what I believe."

      There is a cost/benefit ratio to everything. Even if the only cost to people is the fact that many don't like it you cannot that throw that away as an arguement against something.

      You really don't seem to be talking about pros or cons of cloning. You are simply saying that those people who disagree with you are wrong, or 'small minded' or using 'that old arguement'. Step away from your rhetoric and say something useful.
    • I think after the cloned baby is born it will be a baby. Just because she is the sibling (most likely it will be a she in the US since there is a preference for daughters among mothers) of one of her relatives, doesn't change things. She will have all the other rights that a much younger baby sister would have.

      I think it is interesting reading the way you males discuss cloning. When I think of human cloning I think of it as a fertility treatment. If a woman can't produce her own eggs, the treatments available to her are rather messy. To harvest eggs from a donor requires pumping the poor woman up with hormones. To take cells to be cloned requires a quick biopsy. Producing a child via cloning does not put an egg donor's health at risk.

      I am all for human cloning. This is a therapy that when it becomes safe enough will be one more choice for couples that can't reproduce. Clones will be wanted children. What's not to like?

      • I think, that they have to use an egg-cell. As far as i know, they take an unfertilized egg-cell, remove the nucleus and insert the nucleus of a cell of the "original". (They have to use several tricks, to accomplish this, but these are the main steps.) So you still need egg-cells and a voluntary to donate them in the same messy procedure.

        A better solution would be to get an ovary of a voluntary (you have two!, or sometimes it might be necessary to remove one because of an illness) and to cultivate it. But whether this is possible i don't know.

  • This is nice in theory but they still haven't come up with a good reason to clone a human. Besides the purly novel(have a best friend), or completely unethical(organ factory). Maybe they should have more research into "Why would anybody want to be cloned??"
    • I would have called 'organ factory' the most ethical use, and 'have a best friend' down the bottom of the scale :)

      Being able to clone ones with the consciousness module disabled might pacify all the ethics weenies, on the organ factory front ?
      • I would have called 'organ factory' the most ethical use

        Remember, you don't get adults when you make clones, you get babies. So if you need a new heart, you can't wait 18 or even 16 or 15 years for the clone to become an adult; a baby's heart won't do you much good. If 'organ factory' clonning becomes practical, it will be for the rich, those whose parents can afford to buy them a clone when they're young enough that the clone would be the right age when they might need some parts. An insurance policy, if you will.

        OK, so then what happens when your clone needs a part and goes after you to get it?

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Can we accelerate or atleast emulate adolescent growth? I'm sure it is possible but that is a lot of technology.
        • And a lot of good that would do. Your clone would have your same genetic makeup, so unless you needed the organ due to an accident or some illness that only you caught (and not your clone), then I'd say it would be pretty worthless to have a spare.

          • I hate to point out the obvious to a Master, but my point was that it could be not just "pretty worthles" but possibly dangerous to have a spare you, because the spare may want some of your parts some day! (unless you keep them on ice).

            • Not necessarily. Even though we both know that this clone is at most useless,I would say that the clone could be made within a year of birth and still be just as worthless. Then you would know which was the clone, and label them as such, and just know that this kid was a spare. Now, all that's important is to feed and clothe him, no need to be nice -- no need to worry about emotional damage, it's the parts that matter,


              And of course, you would never give him the parts from the original.

    • Really? You must not have looked very hard... There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to clone a human. Here's an essay [humancloning.org] on why an infertile woman with no viable eggs wants human cloning as explained by her husband . I'd also like to question your contention that making parts [i5ive.com]of humans is "unethical". We've been doing that for several years now... Personally, I agree with the esteemed scientist, Stephen Hawking when he says, "The fuss about cloning is rather silly, I can't see any essential distinction between cloning and producing brothers and sisters in the time-honored way."
    • I want to be cloned so that my clone can do my homework for me while I am busy gaming... and I can't wait to clone myself some hot girlfriends.. :D
  • Here is another article [cnn.com] on CNN.com [cnn.com].

    "Some researchers who say it is not safe to clone humans have told CNN they fear those who do will use the Duke study to validate their claims that cloning a human will not create a grotesquely disfigured baby."
  • Okay, correct me if I'm wrong, but cloning seems to have 2 main reasonings behind it

    1) back up organ production and,
    2) children for infertile couples.

    For case number 1, could they not perhaps focus their attentions on less ethically-questionable tissue culture methods, and if they ever resolve the stem cell debate I'm sure they could make some wonderful break-throughs there.

    It's really 2 I'm wondering about. For years I've been hearing about all these fabulous technological improvements allowing infertile couples to have children of their very own. To me, this is silly. I'm adopted, my birth parents were younger than I am now, and my adopted parents could not have children, for no reason the doctors were ever able to discover. So, they went to the adoption agency, went through rigorous screening, and were able to adopt cute little ol' me. This is an option open to anyone. And, as the various international outreach groups point out, there are thousands of children in this world that would probably kill for a chance to have a family that loves them that much, and can obviously afford to take care of them if they can spend that much on all the infertility clinics. To me, infertility is nature's way of weeding out the species. If you can't reproduce, nature probably thinks you shouldn't. Nothing personal, no harm meant, but your genetic makeup is no longer needed in the genome. This system has been working for millenia, why mess with it? Oh, wait, we're humans, we're above nature... sorry, I forgot... Question, though, wouldn't a complete genetic clone have the exact same infertility problems as the parent or original? Why not just adopt, and give a child a chance it would otherwise not have. Would you love that child any less because it is not, in a genetic sense, 'yours'? I know my parents love me, I am their daughter, blood relation be damned. So, rather than add another, possibly 'flawed' individual to an already overcrowded planet, why not take in another, already living, fellow inhabitant, and make their world a better place?

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

Working...