chapter_5_cloning_ethics_for_class - Chapter 5 reproductive...

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Chapter 5- reproductive cloning Chapter 5: The bioethics of Reproductive Cloning: Patenting a Designer Human Being Introduction: Somatic cell nuclear transfer technology (SCNT) can be used for either reproductive or therapeutic/research cloning. In reproductive cloning, an exact genetic copy can be generated if the donor cell and the enucleated oocyte are obtained from the same individual, or if the oocyte is obtained from the donor’s mother, sister, or grandmother. Since mitochondrial DNA comes from the oocyte, obtaining an enucleated oocyte for nuclear transfer from any donor other than a female relative will result in the progeny that is not an exact genetic clone; the individual would possess nuclear DNA identical to the donor cell and mitochondrial DNA identical to the oocyte. Although mitochondrial DNA represents less than 1% of the total DNA of a cell, it contains critical information regarding the energetics of a cell. The other problem with generating an exact genetic clone using SCNT is gene expression variation related to epigenetic instability. 1 These issues lead to considerable debate around the ethical questions related directly to reproductive cloning. [The science and ethics of therapeutic/research cloning are discussed in chapters 6 and 7.] [I would spell out a couple of examples/scenarios – what exactly is bio-ethically at stake, re creation of identical clones vs. those w. mitochondrial DNA. JM] The outcome of these debates is highly significant since it will determine how various governments either support or ban its cloning research. Academic Arguments Against Human Reproductive Cloning 1 epigenetics effects refers to changes in gene expression that are not determined primarily by the underlying DNA sequence. 1
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Chapter 5- reproductive cloning Current research in animals indicates that the success rate of reproductive cloning is quite low; therefore, many fertilized zygotes or embryos will be destroyed or discarded during any attempts in human beings. While chapter four provided some scientific reasons that support research in reproductive cloning, there are at least two cultural or morality-based arguments and three science-based arguments against it. The first and primary morality-based argument against reproductive cloning is the belief that life begins at conception and that all human beings possess intrinsic and unique value from conception onward. Those supporting/advancing this argument oppose human cloning on the grounds that human zygotes and embryos, whether generated by cloning technology or in vitro fertilization, deserve “full moral respect.” They support the view that, as in “natural fertilization,” a cloned embryo produces a new and complete human organism whose development into a child follows a genetic-based cellular protocol. These human embryos possess a unique genome and the epigenetic primordial for self-directed growth into adulthood. Since SCNT involves the destruction of many pre-implanted embryos in order to generate one viable organism, opponents of
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chapter_5_cloning_ethics_for_class - Chapter 5 reproductive...

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