Friday, January 18, 2008

About cloning

In the same week the USDA says that meat and dairy products from cloned animals will one day be available on our supermarket shelves because there's no difference in the animal and it's clone, we learn Stemagen Corp--a privately funded company in California--has managed to clone a human.

It was fascinating watching the interview of the scientist Dr. Samuel Wood who'd used his own skin cells as the "building blocks" of the process. He said he felt amazing and strange peering at the three cells of what would become a copy of him before he destroyed them.

I understand the whole argument that cloning should be allowed because it will advance the search for cures to disease, etc.

But I will take this a step farther. What is the real problem or dilemma in bringing a child into the world using this method? Why is it automatically unacceptable to do do? Why the knee jerk clamor for laws to prevent cloning? One expects organized religion such as the Catholic church, etc to jerk it's knee, but what about intellectuals and those who do not take the bible literally? Even Wood whom I imagine is intellectual in all aspects of his life felt duty bound to state he didn't ever wish to clone a human--whether that's really his position or not, it felt like morality creeping into the realm of science.

Isn't it intellectual bunk in today's sophisticated world to conclude we can't do this because it's a sin, against God (who's never ruled on it to my knowledge), that its immoral, that it's arrogance to create a carbon copy of oneself. The child would have the same genes as its father OR mother--maybe that's what's making people squeamish:that the genes of one sex is no longer required to produce a child--but that's all. Because it would be born in a different time period and exposed to different socio-economic situations and stimuli (the nurture side of the equation), it would NOT be the same as its parent.

In my opinion, this will happen and in time it will be no more controversial than surrogacy as is increasingly happening with couples who want a child but can't conceive for one reason or other. People throughout the world should have the right to have children whether through sexual intercourse or cutting edge methods that advances in our technology allow. Why not use other pieces of our to DNA to create another human being? We use sperm and egg. The child would be a human being no matter.

In my opinion, we should be concentrating NOT on drafting laws to ban cloning--it's going to happen somewhere in the world--but rather on drafting good laws to protect how it will be conducted and to protect the rights of children born from cloning, if necessary. (For example, one good law would be that the USDA seal of approval can't be put on them making them eligible for consumption.)

After all, once it was strange to think a child's life began inside a test tube. No more.

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