Genetic Engineering

Since the time when there was a heightened media exposure of Dolly—the first cloned sheep—it seems that the issue of genetic engineering has never withered. In fact, the debates surrounding the hybrid of science and technology are far from over as latest innovations in genetic engineering, especially in the field of cloning, are being introduced periodically (“Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland Clone Sheep Named Dolly, February 24, 1997. “).

In terms of cloning, continuous research is being made as a growing number of experiments are being undertaken in order to refine the process of generating an organism with similar DNA to that of the parent gene. In more recent times, human cloning beyond the embryonic stage has seen a glimmer of success as evidence to its continued developments. Yet it appears that some of these claims of success are merely unverified information. For instance, Dr.

Brigitte Boisselier wrote in a letter addressed to the United Nations back in December 2004 that Cloinad was able to clone 13 children. However, Dr. Boisselier claims that the real identities of the purported ‘cloned children’ cannot be revealed to the public in order to protect the welfare and interests of the children (Petechuck). Led by Hwang Woo-Suk in Seoul National University of North Korea, a team of scientists were able to have grown 30 cloned human embryos which have reached up to 1 week of maturity in the same year.

Moreover, the team of scientists claims to have been able to harvested stem cells from the cloned human embryos (“South Korean Scientists Claim to Have Cloned Human Embryos, February 12, 2004”). It seems that the current status of genetic engineering is yet to ripen as current efforts to expand the knowledge of mankind with regard to cloning are still being refined. For the most part, efforts from various parts of the globe are further exploring the field of cloning. Cloning of plants, animals, and even humans: possible?

It is a fact that lower forms of animals and plants were among the earlier test subjects for cloning as their genetic composition are observed to be with relative ease in terms of genetically using their DNA as the foundation for the replication of the same genes. Sheep and monkeys and other mammals were already cloned in the past. In terms of plant propagation, cloning has been adopted in order to facilitate and heighten the production rate of certain plants by altering some of their genetic makeup (Hoyle).

Hence, the cloning of plants and animals is already beyond the realm of impossibility as previous efforts were already made and that these efforts were met corresponding success. As to humans, the future of cloning remains to be seen. Nevertheless, current researches and experiments are confined to replicating certain human genes in order to ‘cultivate’ body organs as replacement for malfunctioning organs of the body. The cloning of a full human being is still widely debated of which the future remains inconclusive at least at this time.

Although there are existing claims of having been able to successfully clone humans, much—if not all—of these claims remain hidden from public view and scrutiny which correspondingly translates to an inconclusive and groundless assertions which lack the vital concrete evidence. The complexity of the human anatomy makes it difficult to apply what has been done for plants and animals to mankind. For instance, several hybrids of fruits such as pineapple and tomato were already produced through the use of cloning.

These plant hybrids were cloned in order to obtain their most desired physical traits such as the content of the flesh or the size of the whole fruit, or for medicinal purposes. The same may be true for animals as to why they are being cloned. For the most part, animals such as pigs and rats were one of the many animals to be cloned by scientists for the purpose of testing if these animals can be successfully cloned during the early years of genetic engineering.

But more importantly than just being able to verify the human capability to clone lower organisms, most scientists may agree that cloning boils down to the prolonging or advancement of human life. Human reproduction or fertilization is perhaps the primary target of cloning or genetic engineering in general. There are many ways in which human reproduction is altered in genetic engineering such as in vitro fertilization where the egg cell is fertilized by the sperm cell outside the mother’s womb, supporting premature as well as sick newborns (miracle babies) for survival, and embryo transfer just to name a few.

In essence, it can be observed that these reproductive technologies stemming from developments in genetic engineering have been applied in several cases although these cases are largely treated as researches. Only recently, the experiments and researches in the previous decades have seen application beyond its earlier and predecessor forms. These technologies, in consequence, may begin to influence the ways in which humans function and reproduce. For the most part, reproductive technologies make other options absent in the past now readily available.

These options may be developed in some other time which attempts to refine these technologies and establish its advantages over the natural course of reproduction. In the end, it can be argued that these reproductive technologies provide additional options for humans in reproducing aside from sexual intercourse through physical contact. There may come a time when people no longer need a partner in fulfilling the desire of having a child. Every man and every woman may already have the option to have a baby without struggling in a relationship, not even in a sexual intercourse (Coday).

References

Coday, Dennis. “Vatican pushes U. N. on cloning. (World Briefs). ” National Catholic Reporter. 41. 3 (Nov 5, 2004): 4(1). Student Resource Center – Silver. Thomson Gale. Christopher Dock Mennonite High School. 30 Sep. 2007 http://find. galegroup. com/srcx/infomark. do? &contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=SRC-2&docId=A124862817&source=gale&srcprod=SRCC&userGroupName=pl2118&version=1. 0 Hoyle, Brian. “Biotechnology. ” Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed.

K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 3rd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Student Resource Center – Silver. Thomson Gale. Christopher Dock Mennonite High School. 30 Sep. 2007 <http://find. galegroup. com/srcx/infomark. do? &contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T001&prodId=SRC-2&docId=EJ2166030292&source=gale&srcprod=SRCC&userGroupName=pl2118&version=1. 0> Petechuk, David. “Clone and cloning. ” Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 3rd ed. Detroit:

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