Dolly Essay, Research Paper


The announcement in February 1997 of the birth of a sheep named Dolly, an exact genetic replica of its mother, sparked a worldwide debate over the moral and medical implications of cloning. Several U.S. states and European countries have banned the cloning of human beings, yet South Korean scientists claimed last month that they had already taken the first step.

Overlooked in the arguments about the morality of artificially reproducing life is the fact that, at present, cloning is a very inefficient procedure. Even if the technique were perfected, however, we must ask ourselves what practical value whole-being cloning might have. What exactly would be the difference between a cloned baby and a child born naturally-and why would we want one?

Why copy people in the first place? Couples unable to have children might choose to have a copy of one of them rather than accept the intrusion of genes from a donor. Each of us can imagine hypothetical families created by the introduction of a cloned child-a copy of one partner in a homosexual relationship or of a single parent, for example. What is missing in all this is consideration of what s in the interests of the cloned child. Because there is no form of infertility that could be overcome only by cloning.

I do not find these proposals acceptable. My concerns are not on religious grounds or on the basis of a perceived intrinsic ethical principle. Rather, my judgment is that it would be difficult for families created in this way to provide an appropriate environment for the child.

Copying is also suggested as a means by which parents can have the child of their dreams. Couples might choose t have a copy of a film star, baseball player or scientist, depending on their interests. But what if the copy of Einstein shows no interest in science? Or the football player turns to acting? Success also depends upon fortune. What of the child who does not live up to the hopes and dreams of the parent simply because of bad luck?

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