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Cloning Research

“To be or not to be…” In the last fifty years new forms of technology have been the center of attention for every human being. It seems that every day scientists come up with some new, perhaps even controversial, and exciting ways to improve the quality of life. These new technologies affect every aspect of life, as we know it. One such technology is the research being done in the area of cloning. Cloning is the production of one or more cells, individual plants, or animals that are genetically identical to another cell, plant or animal. Although the first steps forward in cloning have brought a storm of protest, the experimental research should be studied to prolong the existence of human life.

In February 1997, the Roslin Institute in Scotland, a farm animal research facility, announced that it had succeeded in cloning a sheep from an adult cell. The cloned sheep, Dolly, made headlines around that world and launched a fierce debate over the potential uses for this technology. The breakthrough showed for the first time that genetic information encoded in the DNA of an adult cell could be “reset” and made young again. Once reset, the cell with rejuvenated DNA could produce all of the cells needed to grow a complete organism.

Since Dolly, much has happened. In the United States, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission issued a report calling for federal legislation to ban human cloning for three to five years because of the moral dangers of cloning. President Clinton imposed a ban on all federally funded cloning research. Other European countries also adopted a similar ban. The misconceptions of cloning have risen from the lack of knowledge about the discoveries. Most people do not understand the basic principles of cloning, and are likely to make rash generalizations about whether cloning is natural or not. Other misconceptions focus on the societal problems resulting from cloning. Many of these misconceptions are only valid in a society without regulations or laws of any kind. People tend to forget that along with new technological developments come rules and guidelines to prevent the nightmarish scenarios that many believe will come true. Each of these misconceptions results from a distortion of the truth. Yet Congress seems hell-bent on stopping the medical advances that cloning can make possible....

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