Gene Mapping And Cloning In The Year 2001
DNA is the basic blueprint of life. We have a way to find answers to the questions that have puzzled the science community for years. We now have a way to fight diseases. To find cures! We can pinpoint the genetic mutations that we have and prevent them from passing on to our children. Or their children.
The discovery has also brought out fears. Fears of discrimination. The possibility of misuse is rampant in the minds of many. Major companies who have the capabilities could hire and fire on results of a genetic test. What is there to keep us from measuring each other more than we do now? People hating each other not only because of their race or religion but also because of their genome?
Genetic screening is a growing presence in the workplace. Already there have been lawsuits of genetic-testing. There have even been first-ever genetic testing lawsuits for collecting genetic samples from employees without their consent.
Genetic screening and discrimination are more widespread in the health industry. There have been documentations of hundreds of cases. Healthy children being denied insurance because of a genetic predisposition to an illness. A genetic abnormality that codes for a disease does not necessarily mean you will get sick.
Some states have some form of laws against genetic discrimination in the health industry. Many people believe that there must be a new federal law to prevent genetic discrimination. There surely must be some sort of control to protect the rights of the individual against discrimination. Genetic discrimination.
With this new insight into the human genetic material comes the reality of cloning. There are some doctors who say that cloning a human is possible. They will be able to clone children for infertile couples and other couples who could not normally have children. Already over 600 couples have signed up for the procedure though it has not been perfected as yet.
The method is simplistic in itself. You start with an egg cell. Take out the entire DNA in it. Insert the humanís DNA who is being cloned and when the cell begins dividing and grows into an embryo, find a host for the embryo to grow in, using test tube baby technology we have had for years.
The cloning procedure was perfected with Dolly the sheep and hundreds of other animals have been cloned since. Some fail to grow or have some sort of deformity and die soon after birth. More research is needed before testing can be done on humans. Testing done on humans?
Testing on humans! Why does that frighten me? What are the ethical objections to the idea? What kind of horrors could be created? For what purpose? A new kind of slavery? An army? The possibilities are endless and terrifying.
What reasons are there to want to clone humans? Many people want to have children and this would be their only way to have children with their genetic makeup. Other people would want to recover someone they loved such as a child. Still others cite spare parts as a reason for cloning. There have been people who have another child for a spare part for a sick child already alive.
Then there is the megalomaniac who would want to reproduce his or her own attractive qualities. Or people who would want to improve the human species. Then there would be people who are just plain curious.
Would a cloned human have the same rights as the human that it was cloned from? Would the clone have the benefits that the human it was cloned from have? We need answers and guidelines to these questions before we allow cloning.
Humans are equal in the eyes of science because the human genome is 99.95% the same from person to person. Theoretically even in clones. We need to insure the same is true in the eyes of the law.
Research material provided by the Indianapolis Star,
www.gsd.lbl.gov/main.html, and other sites on the web.