THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT:


Ethical or Unethical?








ENGLISH 101





Monday, April 4, 2000.


Cloning a human being is something that has been fantasized for a long time in


science fiction. Until now, never in history has science been able to so deeply impact


human lives, as genetic engineering will. The Human Genome Project, is an international


effort to “map” the 3 billion parts of proteins that make up human deoxyribonucleic acid


(DNA), is to be completed by the year 2003; the use of such technology poses an eminent


threat to society as we know it. Cloning humans has recently become much more feasible


in today’s society than it was twenty years ago, yet is it unclear if it is ethical or unethical


to do so. Scientific and ethical studies of cloning have proven that cloning will have a


negative rather than a positive effect on today’s society. Whether or not a scientist should


or should not clone humans is a tough question to answer. My main focus is not on


whether human cloning should be done, but rather is it ethically right to do so.


I believe that the Human Genome Project is unethical, because of all the harmful


possibilities, such as the development of a super-race, the production of bio-logical


weapons of mass destruction, and religious and evolutionary consequences. I would like


to see this published in a college newspaper because, it is my hope that college students


who will become the world’s future scientists and lawmakers will take into consideration


many of these views. The Human Genome Project today is often sugar coated promising


that it will increase the life expectancy of each individual by the creation of new vaccines


for diseases such as cancer and aids. The question that must be asked is; what is the


Human Genome Project capable of?


It has been almost a hundred years since the first clone was ever created. In 1902,


German embryologist Hans Spermann, used a strand of hair to split apart cells of a two-


celled salamander, and obtained a normal salamander from each cell. Thirty-six years


later, Spermann used nuclear transportation to create a clone. He then took


the nucleus, the cellular structure that contains the most genetic material and controls


growth and development, and removed it from an egg cell of an organism. Through


this process Spermann had successfully created another clone. A few years later,


other scientists were able to clone plants. Plants were simple in structure and cloning


them became very popular with scientists. Scientists have cloned fruits, vegetables,


trees, and plant life. This technique of cloning plants enables scientists to select a


desirable plant and produce as many identical copies of it as they wish. The next step


in cloning was taken in 1952, scientists kept attempting to clone frogs but the cells


always ended up dying and the scientists stopped trying to clone frogs. Then in 1970,


scientists again tried to clone frogs but failed again. Finally scientists, realized that a


more complex animal such as a mammal could not be cloned. However, in 1996,


Hans Spermann\'s idea of nuclear transportation resurfaced, it was used very


extensively by Scottish scientists and was proven successful. The arrival of Dolly, a


sheep developed from an egg whose own genes had been replaced by those from an


adult udder cell, was seen as the first incarnation of a sinister future. Scientists at the


Roslin Institute in Scotland cloned Dolly. For the first time, a complex animal had


been cloned from a body cell (Humancloning.org). Ever since the announcement of


Dolly, many questions, concerns, and comments have surfaced. In 1997, scientist


Richard Seed announced that he planned to clone a human. An uproar by religious


and scientific communities alike brought about many ethical and moral controversies.


There are many different reasons behind the Human Genome Project. Doctors see


cloning as a way of providing much-needed organs such as the heart and lung. Scientist


might also view cloning as a way to find cures for diseases such as aids and cancer.


Although, human cloning could be beneficial in providing much needed information for


medical advance. Microbiologist, Dr. Ian Wilmut implies, “the primary purpose of the





cloning is to advance the development of drug therapies to combat certain life





threatening human diseases” (LifeLines