-THE ETHICS ON HUMAN CLONING-


Cloning is just one example of the great power of gene technology, a technology we urgently need to treat or cure diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, cancer or AIDS, and to help feed the growing world population. However gene technology raises urgent questions of safety and ethics.


Human cloning means designer people with known pedigree. This is the ultimate pedigree child. Cloning of human embryos has already been achieved. Successful cloning of adults have announced but not yet proven. It is only a matter of time, months or a very few years before human cloning is a reality for anyone with enough cash, willing to take the risks of a hideously malformed or emotionally damaged child.


Despite huge risks, and widespread public condemnation, by January 2001 many different scientists across the world were already locked in a race to clone the first human.


Huge amounts of money are at stake in human cloning research. Teams have announced their aim, many people have come forward with offers of eggs, their own adult cells and money - and the US still has no laws to prevent human cloning from happening, nor do most other countries of the world.


One set of ethical concerns about human clones involves the risks and uncertainties associated with the current state of cloning technology. This technology has not yet been tested with human subjects, and scientists cannot rule out the possibility of mutation or other biological damage.


The ethical issues of greatest importance about cloning do not involve possible failures of cloning technology, but rather the consequences of its success. Assuming that scientists were able to clone human beings without incurring the risks mentioned above, what concerns might there be about the welfare of clones?


Here are three reasons why we should say NO to cloning: cloning is not ethical.


1. Non ethical health risks from mutation of genes - an abnormal baby would be a nightmare come true. The technique is extremely risky right now. A particular worry is the possibility that the genetic material used from the adult will continue to age so that the genes in a newborn baby clone could be 30 years old or more on the day of birth. Many attempts at animal cloning produced disfigured monsters with severe abnormalities.


2. Non ethical emotional risks - a child grows up knowing her mother is her sister, her grandmother is her mother. Her father is her brother-in-law. Every time her mother looks at her she is seeing herself growing up. Unbearable emotional pressures on a teenager trying to establish his or her identity. What happens to a marriage when the "father" sees his wife\'s clone grow up into the exact replica (by appearance) of the beautiful 18 year old he fell in love with 35 years ago? A sexual relationship would of course be with his wife\'s twin, no incest involved technically. You will not find a child psychiatrist in the world who could possibly say that there will not be very significant emotional risk to the cloned child as a result of these pressures.


3. Non ethical risk of abuse of the technology - what would Hitler have done with cloning technology if available in the 1940s? There are powerful leaders in every generation who will seek to abuse this technology for their own purposes. Going ahead with cloning technology makes this far more likely. You cannot have so-called therapeutic cloning without reproductive cloning because the technique to make cloned babies is the same as to make a cloned embryo to try to make replacement tissues. In any case it is a myth that you will get organs from cloned embryos. At best you will get clusters of cells. And at the speed at which biotech is accelerating there will soon be other ways to get such cells. It is rather crude to create a complete embryonic identical twin embryo just to get hold of stem cells to make - say - nervous tissue. Much better to take cells from the adult and trigger them directly to regress to a more primitive form without the ethical issues raised by inserting a full adult set of genes into an unfertilised egg.


There is more to life than life.We are more than the sum