Reproductive cloning is the process of creating an organism that’s genetically identical to the donor organism. It occurs naturally in nature and can be observed in certain plants and insects but, in the recent years, scientists have been trying to duplicate the process in laboratories. Over time, they have been able to successfully clone animals — Dolly the Sheep is the most famous example — although they haven’t been able to clone any humans.
Reproductive cloning is often compared with therapeutic cloning. The latter is still involved in creating an organism that’s genetically identical to its donor, but the resulting embryo is kept in the laboratory for further study. In reproductive cloning, the embryo is implanted into a female animal that acts as a surrogate and carries the embryo until it’s born.
Many think that reproductive cloning is one of the keys to the future, but a lot of people believe that it breaches numerous moral and ethical principles. If you’re not sure which side is correct, learn about the pros and cons of reproductive and let them help you make a decision.
List of Pros of Reproductive Cloning
1. It can revive endangered or extinct species.
If you’ve seen the movies in the Jurassic Park franchise, you probably already know that the dinosaurs in the park were created using cloning. Although many experts say that cloning dinosaurs isn’t really possible (since it’s hard to find a source of well-preserved dinosaur DNA), reproductive cloning can be used to reproduce animals that have become extinct in the recent years. The same is true for endangered animals, which are easier to clone since there are still several males and females of the species around and scientists can extract healthy X-chromosomes and Y-chromosomes to use in the cloning process.
2. It can improve the field of medicine.
Reproductive cloning is highly helpful in developing medical advancements. For one thing, it’s useful in creating animals that have specific genetic mutations and can be used to study diseases. It can also be used in reproducing stem cells, which can be used to repair damaged organs and even create wholly new organs that can then be transplanted into patients. Reproductive cloning can also be used in developing various drugs and vaccines that can treat and prevent illnesses.
3. It can help in increasing the world’s food supply.
Reproductive cloning can be used to create copies of agricultural animals that make high-quality milk or eggs and/or are sources of excellent meat. These cloned animals can then be used as breeding stocks, which means that farmers can easily produce animal products that are superior in quantity and quality.
4. It can create a copy of a deceased pet.
Many people love their pets too much that they get devastated when these pass away. Reproductive cloning gives them the chance to have another pet that’s genetically identical to their deceased pet. However, this doesn’t guarantee that the cloned animal will look like the donor. In the case of two cats named CC and Rainbow (the former was the genetic copy of the latter), CC did not look like Rainbow because her X-chromosomes gave her black and white fur (whereas Rainbow had a calico coat).
5. It can help parents who want to have children.
As mentioned above, scientists haven’t been able to successfully clone human beings. But, when the time comes that the method would be perfected, reproductive cloning can be used to help infertile parents who would like to have their own children as well as parents who want to have twins. It can also be useful to lesbian and gay couples, who won’t need donor sperm and donor eggs, respectively, to have their own kids.
List of Cons of Reproductive Cloning
1. It’s not entirely safe.
The science of reproductive cloning isn’t perfect; in fact, it needs a lot more research before the process can be perfected. As a result, reproductive cloning as of press time isn’t 100 percent safe. Many cloning experiments ended in miscarriage and stillbirths, while a large percentage of cloned animals that survived pregnancy were born with deformities.
In the case of Dolly the sheep, almost 300 cloned embryos were created before the scientists successfully cloned Dolly. Even then, she grew up to become a sickly sheep and had to be euthanized because of her illnesses.
2. It can lead to abuse.
Reproductive cloning is a powerful tool that may lead many people to use it for their own gain. Humans, for example, can be cloned only to become sources of organs and tissues, which means they’ll have to spend most of their time in laboratories and other controlled environments and won’t experience what it’s like to live as normal human beings. Those with vested interests may also use cloning for criminal and unlawful acts and/or clone people against their will and/or without their knowledge.
3. It works against moral and religious principles.
Many people believe that only God can create human beings. So, when scientists try their hand at cloning humans, they’re essentially “playing God” and going against religious concepts. Even those who aren’t religious think that reproductive cloning isn’t right since it interferes with natural laws by creating humans through artificial ways. They believe that, aside from being morally wrong, this interference can lead to a host of problems that society isn’t prepared to handle.
4. It may lead to physical, emotional, and mental damage in cloned children.
If humans become successfully cloned, it can lead to several repercussions for children. If they’re used as sources for organs and tissues, for instance, they may grow up thinking that their life is worthless, and they can suffer from a wide range of psychological issues. If they’re cloned from a child that their parents have lost, they may live under the shadow of that child and won’t have the chance to develop their own identity.
Reproductive cloning has the power to change the future for the better. However, people should also look at the disadvantages it can bring and find a balance between its pros and cons.