Genetic Engineering

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Genetic Engineering

On 24th February 1997, Ian Wilmot and his fellow scientists as the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh announced to the world that they had cloned a lamb named Dolly. 

Cloning is the creation of an embryo using the genetic matieral from another being 

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Uses of Genetic Engineering

  • One possible use of this technology would be for infertile couples who could not conceive
  • There are a number of other possible medical applications using therapeutic cloning 
  • New treatments could be developed for medical conditions that seriously damage or leave the body's specialised cells parts diseased - such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson disease
  • There's an acute shortage of donated healthy organs, and cloning technology could be used to grow the required cell tissue using embyronic stem cells 
  • The British government supports extending embyro research activity to develop treatments 
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The Ethical Debate

  • Those who argue that from conception the embryo has full human status reject cloning as an embryo is destroyed in the process
  • Leon Kass argues that human cloning will harm the created child by threatening a confusion of identity and individuality, because it represents a step towards turning reproduction into manufacturing, and also a form of despotism of the cloners over the cloned, and a blatant violation of the inner meaning of parent-child relationships 
  • Donald Bruce rejects not only human cloning but also the use of cloned embyros for therapeautic cloning 
  • Some supports of cloning argue principally for the use of embyros for medical research, on the basis that the end justifies the means 
  • Gregory E. Pence argues that human cloning wouldn't be harmful because embyros can't be harmed 
  • Stephan Jay Gould argues that there are no new ethical questions raised by human cloning, as identical twins share more properities than Dolly did with her mother 
  • Amongst the consequential factors, childless couples seeking children would have the potential to have children, and those suffering from a number of terrible degenerative diseases might have a chance of a cure. Weighing ahainst this is the chance of a psychologically or emotionally damaged cloned individual or the erosion of society's attitude to life and reproduction 
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