The Controversy of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research

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Today, genetic engineering is being actively discussed and argued. Specifically, the disputes are aroused by the issues of human cloning, which presumes artificial production of living beings, and stem cell research that requires killing the embryos. Meanwhile, the benefits of these scientific fields are objectively stronger than the shortcomings; nevertheless, many people express hostility towards genetic engineering justifying their attitude with the objection that humans should not play God. Nevertheless, exploring the meaning of this phrase one can rightfully deduce that it does not have any merit.

In particular, by accusing people in playing God, one makes a supposition that there is a difference between deities and humans. What is more, following the rationale, this diversity must be an essential factor that prohibits the further development of genetic engineering. Assumingly, this difference is the right to give life and to take it away; but people are known to do that from the origins of the civilization. Evaluating the situation from this perspective, it seems to be illogical to ban the development of genetic engineering because of artificially created organisms and/or mortified five-day embryos.

Furthermore, the individuals who are against using embryos’ biomaterial fo stem cell research base their rationale on the belief that these embryos are already separate individuals. Nevertheless, the research reveals that “monozygotic twinning is possible until around days 14–15 of an embryo's development” (Siegel, 2013). It means that a five-day old embryo is not an individual yet. Consequently, this argument can be considered as invalid.

Meanwhile, it is debatable to call these organisms human beings; moreover, they can participate in the scientific research that can save the lives of thousands if not millions of people. The authors, John Arthur and Steven Scarlet, make an assumption that “an existing generation has a responsibility to ensure, to the extent possible, the genetic quality and fitness of the next generation” (Scarlet & Arthur, 2014). Emphasizing this responsibility to the future humanity, they vocalize the opinion of numerous scholars, philosophers and common people who are not connected with genetic engineering. To ensure better health conditions and general prosperity of the future generations, the contemporaries should consider the necessity of stem cell research, as well as acknowledge the relevance to create the needed biomaterial artificially.

Scrutinizing about the future of the genetic engineering, Dr. Patrick Dixon educates that alll representatives of flora and fauna share about 82 percents of identical genes (Dixon, 2007).  The comprehension of this peculiarity provides tremendous opportunities to the world of science, and it has nothing to do with playing God. Dixon reveals that different genes’ therapies and manipulations with biomaterial are capable to eliminate the diseases and epidemics (Dixon, 2007). For instance, he assumes that the artificial correction of human genes would help to solve the problem of HIV, bird flu and other health issues. In these terms, it seems to be quite incorrect to state that people strive to play God because they want to provide better life conditions to a great number of people. It is what an average doctor is supposed to do on a regular basis.

Summing up the above-mentioned, it is appropriate to state that despite the hostile attitude towards contemporary genetic engineering (in particular, human cloning and using human embryos for stem cell research) the enhancement of life quality is more relevant.  The controversy of genetic engineering is based on the concerns that any manipulations, which are aimed to change (mortify) living organisms must be considered as unethical and be banned. Meanwhile, the adherents of its development accentuate that there are no valid reasons to prohibit the further research of this field.

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