HUMAN CLONING: SOME ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
If you read the newspaper or listen to television news, you have heard a lot about cloning. Do you know exactly what a clone is? According to the dictionary, a clone is a group of genetically identical cells that are descended from a common ancestor, such as a clone of bacterial cells grown from one original bacterial cell in a laboratory. A clone could also be an organism that grew from a single parent by asexual reproduction. For example, an organism called a hydra reproduces asexually by growing buds from its body. When the buds mature and drop off, they are new organisms that are genetically identical to the parent, and thus they are clones of the single parent hydra. A clone could also be a replica of a DNA sequence that is produced through genetic engineering.
However, these definitions of a clone don’t really address the current debate about cloning. A sheep named Dolly was the very first clone of an adult mammal. Dolly was news because for the first time a clone was created from differentiated cells – that is, cells that were not embryonic. Since Dolly, researchers the world over have been creating clones of other mammals, including mice and cows. Because human beings are also mammals, scientists have begun to discuss the ethical, moral, legal, and biological issues that might result from the cloning of human beings. Under what circumstances should cloning be allowed? Is it acceptable to clone bacteria or mice? Is it acceptable to clone your favorite pet animal? Should cloning of human organs be allowed? Should cloning of human beings be allowed? What kinds of restrictions should be placed on cloning technologies?
Your job in this WebQuest is to form an opinion as to whether human cloning should be allowed. You will learn what cloning is and how clones are made. You will research the ethical arguments both for, and against, human cloning. You will find out if there are any laws regarding the cloning of humans and what those laws state. You will identify some of the moral issues that accompany the cloning of human beings. Finally, you will form an opinion as to whether human cloning should be allowed.
You will present your findings to the class by using a PowerPoint presentation. In this presentation you will discuss the biological aspects of cloning...that is what it is. You will in short...teach the topic of cloning and conclude with the above discussion on the ethical considerations of human cloning.
The links below will give you all that you need to know I believe. You may use any resource however.
The Rubric for grading will be available to you in hard copy...ask for it!
Good luck, have fun.
Some additional questions and thoughts for you to consider and to help you get started...these are from one of the links below
Some questions to ponder.
Ethical, legal and social issues.
There are several types of issues to consider as we think about cloning.
Ethical issues are those that ask us to consider the potential moral outcomes of cloning technologies.
Legal issues require researchers and the public to help policymakers decide whether and how cloning technologies should be regulated by the government.
Social issues involve the impact of cloning technologies on society as a whole.
The questions raised here have no clear right or wrong answer. Instead, your response will depend on your own set of values, as well as the opinions of those around you.
* Who has the right to have children, no matter how they are created? Who doesn't? Why?
* Is human cloning "playing with nature?" If so, how does that compare with other reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization or hormone treatments?
* If a clone originates from an existing person, who is the parent?
* What are some of the social challenges a cloned child might face?
* Do the benefits of human cloning outweigh the costs of human dignity?
* Should cloning research be regulated? How, and by whom?