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Cloning has more potential benefits than ethical issues

Feb. 28, 2001

Since British scientists cloned sheep 'Dolly,' controversy has surrounded the possibility of cloning human beings. With scientists now beginning to attain the technology to clone humans, we believe that the possible medical research and benefits that cloning can provide out- weigh the ethical questions surrounding human cloning.

Whether one agrees with human cloning or not, it is inevitable that it will happen one day. The technology will be available, as well as the curiosity of scientists. If cloning is made illegal, then it will probably be done secretly in the basements of unsafe, makeshift laboratories. So, since human cloning is almost a certainty, the United States and other countries should go ahead and scientifically endorse cloning. This way, governments could regulate cloning, making sure that it be carried out in a safe way.

The United States, which currently does not fund any research into cloning, should follow the lead of Great Britain, which allows researchers to use government money for some cloning research. Allocating more money for cloning research will also ensure scientists fully understand cloning before the procedures are begun.

If cloning is done in a safe and open way by reputable scientists with adequate research and expertise, then the benefits of cloning are very promising.

While cloning can be an option for couples who cannot naturally have children together, the most beneficial use of cloning is known as 'therapeutic cloning.' This method involves extracting cells from a person and cloning those cells to create an embryo of identical genetic material and using the embryo's stem cells -- young, adaptable cells that evolve to form every part of the body -- to grow tissues that the patient may need, such as skin, a liver, a heart or brain tissue. Scientists say that since the cells would be genetically identical to the patient, there would be a smaller chance the body would reject the tissues or organs. Therapeutic cloning research is currently funded in Great Britain, with the government mandating that the used human embryos must be destroyed after 14 days.

There is not a question as to if human cloning will happen, but as to when and how it will happen. The United States and the global community should accept this and give scientists adequate money so cloning can be better researched and to ensure that it is not done secretly and haphazardly.