January 26, 2010


The word cloning is used by scientists to describe many different processes that involve making duplicates of biological material. In most cases, isolated genes or cells are duplicated for scientific study, and no new animal results. Stem cells are unique and essential cells found in animals that are capable of continually reproducing themselves and renewing tissue throughout an individual organism's life. Stem cells can be obtained from human embryos.

Both cloning and embryonic stem cell research has focused public attention on the meaning and status of human embryos in contexts essentially unrelated to abortion. As a result, society and the law have begun to construct new understandings of the term embryo. Those understandings merge with and reshape old understandings. Thus, the politics of abortion are being transformed as society responds to developments in molecular biology, especially the advent of mammalian cloning in 1997 and the isolation of human embryonic stem cells a year later (Dolgin, 2004).

In the 1998 reports, embryonic cells were derived from in vitro embryos six to seven days old destined to be discarded by couples undergoing infertility treatments, and embryonic germ cells were obtained from cadaveric fetal tissue following elective abortion. Embryonic stem cells also could be derived from embryos created through somatic cell nuclear transfer, or cloning.

In fact, several scientists believed that deriving embryonic stem cells in this manner is the most promising approach to developing treatments because the condition of in vitro fertilization embryos stored over time is questionable and this type of cloning could overcome graft-host responses if resulting therapies were developed from the recipient's own DNA.

The embryo has the moral status of a person from the moment of conception, and it deserves some measure of respect. But the respect due is not exactly equal that given to a fully formed human. The use of embryos in research should not be considered immoral as long as these are not embryos aborted for the sole purpose of research. Abortion constitutes murder because fetuses and embryos are still considered as people. Many people believe that this view is centuries old, but this is still what is morally right.

 It is important to note that it is better to use embryos that would otherwise be destroyed to develop potential cures for disease affecting millions of people. Better yet, embryonic stem cells should be derived from embryos created through somatic cell nuclear transfer, or cloning. That way, the moral and legal issue is not as controversial as using aborted human embryos.

Stem cell cloning is a much better choice and I am in favor of it. Rather that using aborted human embryos, cloning stem cells of embryos are much better for use in research. Moral and legal questions regarding their use is not really as heavy as that of using real embryos.







Cloning/Embryonic Stem Cells, Retrieved from:


Dolgin, J.L. (2004). Embryonic Discourse: Abortion, Stem Cells and Cloning.

Issues in Law and Medicine.

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