First 480 words of the document:
WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC CLONING?
Therapeutic cloning is the area of stem cell research which uses adult stem cells from the bone
marrow for example to produce a cloned early embryo of themselves. The stem cells of this embryo
could in theory be used to heal the original donor.
Firstly, the nucleus from an adult stem cell from the patient is put into an enucleated (empty) ovum. An
electric shock then stimulates the ovum (containing patient DNA) to develop into an embryo and the
embryonic stem cells can be made to differentiate into different tissues using factors such as
hormones. The tissue or organ is then transplanted into the patient.
The benefits of therapeutic cloning include:
The stem cells produced are pluripotent which means they are capable of becoming any type
of cell and so can potentially treat disease in any organ or tissue of the body.
This process overcomes some of the ethical concerns with embryonic stem cell cloning which
will later develop to become a baby.
As the stem cells contain the patient's own genetic material, there is no risk that the body
would see them as foreign and reject them.
This also can potentially reduce the waiting time for organ transplants due to lack of donors
which is huge problem today.
This process would also allow patients to receive tissues or organs which are specific and
perfectly matched to their medical condition.
It is also important to enhancing our understanding about the development of stem cell which
can hopefully lead to curing common diseases which are affecting people today such as
Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
However, the problems with therapeutic cloning include:
Many embryos may die in the process to create a viable one. There are many ethical issues
concerning this as it has been likened to abortion and that in fact this is a destruction of a
There is fear that a scientist performing therapeutic cloning may go a step further and create a
cloned human being, however this is very unlikely.
Others fear that if human beings can be cloned in this way, the variation of genes in society
will considerably reduce which means that the human population would less likely survive any
changes in the environment causing extinction of the human race in the future. The variation in
society now means that a few individuals will be adapted to survive in the new conditions.
They will go on to reproduce and replace those who die.
It is a very expensive process.
On balance I conclude that the pros of `treating disease' outweigh the cons of `ethical concerns' and
that therapeutic cloning is very beneficial.