Is Human Cloning Possible?

Sunday, 16 Mar 2014 05:26 PM

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Stem research and possibility to clone at cell and embryo levels have made human cloning a possible reality in current days. Scientific advances to this day in cloning the cells and embryo of animals including sheep, mice, and monkeys have generated a lot of interest in the scientific arena to perform further tests in human cloning.

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Reproductive cloning happens when a mother gives birth to twin babies. Here, the cell formed after the fusion of the female egg and male sperm is split into two and hence there are two embryos which grow together in the womb to full grown and mature babies.
Reproductive cloning is currently practiced in cases where a couple is not able to conceive a baby through natural reproductive process. Hence, the male and female reproductive cells are fused in a controlled environment that allows for a zygote to be formed. This cell is then implanted in the surrogate mother in whose womb the embryo grows and matures into a baby.
 
Human cloning became a remote possibility when the sheep ‘Dolly’ was successfully cloned in 1996 by Scottish scientists. Later, mice and certain other animals were cloned by scientists in many parts of the world. However, this was not reproductive cloning. Once the cells could be isolated to form the embryo outside of organisms, the concept of human cloning became even more possible. Currently, nonreproductive cloning by fusing cells and growing embryos is a common practice in the dairy industry to produce greater quantities of milk and meat.
These genetically cloned embryos and cells were approved by the FDA in 2008 for consumption purposes.
 
Stem research is another area that is growing in popularity. The stem cells are undifferentiated cells found in embryos and in the umbilical cord of mothers that later on differentiate into specific cell types to form into a fully grown fetus. Stem research is already used to treat diseases and replace diseased tissue since these cells are capable of growing and specializing when injected into the human body.

Stem research, however, has now also led us to believe that newer possibilities are awaiting in human cloning. Earlier, an embryo was formed by nonreproductive human cloning in the laboratory. However, it was destroyed before being implanted in the uterus of a suitable mother.
 
In the coming days, we might witness human cloning through cells and embryos artificially engineered in labs is actually possible with stem research. However, ethical considerations related to human cloning have prohibited many scientists and research labs from indulging in stem research for the purpose of human cloning. Knowing that stem research and specialized cell culture techniques are now available, human cloning does seem a possibility in the near future.

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