Introduction to the Activity:
In 1996 history was made when a sheep named Dolly was the first animal to be successfully cloned (Wilmut et al. 1997). Since then there have been numerous advancements in the science of cloning, resulting in the development of other clones from horses, cats, and mouse (AMA-ASSN). While scientists have yet to clone a human, some researchers did successfully generate stem cells from cloned human embryos (AMA-ASSN). Since Dolly, there has been a concomitant increase in moral, social, and ethical arguments over the possibility of applying this new technology to humans. It has been theorized that human cloning could present numerous benefits (PBS). For example, it is hoped by some that one day therapeutic cloning can be used to generate organs and tissues for transplants (Human Genome Project). If human cloning were to become viable it would not be long before someone would be willing to pay to create a clone of themselves.
In this activity you review the biological and ethical issues associated with human cloning. You provide background information, considerations, and describe the feasibility of human cloning from a biological perspective. Now discuss some of the ethical and societal implications surrounding the issue.
AMA-ASSN. (N.D.) Human Cloning. Retrieved from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-science/genetics-molecular-medicine/related-policy-topics/stem-cell-research/human-cloning.page
Human Genome Project. (N.D.) Human Genome Project Information: Cloning Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/cloning.shtml
PBS. (N.D.) Human Cloning: How close is it? Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/fertility/etc/cloning.html
Wilmut, I., A. E. Schnieke, J. McWhir, A.J. Kind, and K.H. Campbell. (1997). Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells. Nature 385(6619):810–813.
Please answer the questions below keeping in mind what you learned about the interaction between genes and the environment during development. Use the information provided in Ch. 7 and relevant external resources, such as the sources cited above, to support your response. Then, explain why the final question is an ethical issue and not one that can be answered using the scientific method. Provide background information to the reader so that they have a basic level of understanding of the topic. Be sure to describe considerations for this topic. For example, discuss the considerations for research or ethical arguments surrounding this issue. Finally, discuss the role that each of us as members of society plays in this issue.
To what extent would the phenotype of a human clone resemble the phenotype of the donor? Why or why not? Is human cloning even possible? Should we be concerned?
Instruction to Learners:
The essay must be at least 2 pages (approximately 500 words) and be no longer than 4 pages. The title page and reference page are not included in the page or word count. The paper must address the following topics within the text.
- Introduction containing background information on human cloning
- Feasibility of producing human clones identical to the donor including a consideration of the effect of genetics and the environment on development
- List of considerations involved in addressing the ethical issue of human cloning
- Responsibilities of society pertaining to this issue
Refer to the APA Formatting Guidelines for guidelines on appropriate format for your essay.
Refer to the Assessing Writing Rubric [PDF file size 227 KB] for guidelines on grading.