Ethics of cloning

In bioethics, the ethics of cloning refers to a variety of ethical positions regarding the practice and possibilities of cloning, especially human cloning. While many of these views are religious in origin, some of the questions raised by cloning are faced by secular perspectives as well. Perspectives on human cloning are theoretical, as human therapeutic and reproductive cloning are not commercially used; animals are currently cloned in laboratories and in livestock production.

Advocates support development of therapeutic cloning in order to generate tissues and whole organs to treat patients who otherwise cannot obtain transplants, to avoid the need for immunosuppressive drugs, and to stave off the effects of aging. Advocates for reproductive cloning believe that parents who cannot otherwise procreate should have access to the technology.

Opponents of cloning have concerns that technology is not yet developed enough to be safe, and that it could be prone to abuse, either in the form of clones raised as slaves, or leading to the generation of humans from whom organs and tissues would be harvested. Opponents have also raised concerns about how cloned individuals could integrate with families and with society at large.

Religious groups are divided, with some opposing the technology as usurping God's place and, to the extent embryos are used, destroying a human life; others support therapeutic cloning's potential life-saving benefits.

Cloning of animals is opposed by animal-groups due to the number of cloned animals that suffer from malformations before they die, and while food from cloned animals has been approved by the US FDA, its use is opposed by some other groups concerned about food safety.

Philosophical debate

The various forms of cloning, particularly human cloning, are controversial.[1] There have been numerous demands for all progress in the human cloning field to be halted. Most scientific, governmental and religious organizations oppose reproductive cloning. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and other scientific organizations have made public statements suggesting that human reproductive cloning be banned until safety issues are resolved.[2] Serious ethical concerns have been raised by the future possibility of harvesting organs from clones.[3]

Advocates of human therapeutic cloning believe the practice could provide genetically identical cells for regenerative medicine, and tissues and organs for transplantation.[4] Such cells, tissues, and organs would neither trigger an immune response nor require the use of immunosuppressive drugs. Both basic research and therapeutic development for serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as improvements in burn treatment and reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, are areas that might benefit from such new technology.[5] One bioethicist, Jacob M. Appel of New York University, has gone so far as to argue that "children cloned for therapeutic purposes" such as "to donate bone marrow to a sibling with leukemia" may someday be viewed as heroes.[6][7]

Proponents claim that human reproductive cloning also would produce benefits to couples who cannot otherwise procreate. In the early 2000s Severino Antinori and Panos Zavos stirred controversy when they publicly stated plans to create a fertility treatment that allows parents who are both infertile to have children with at least some of their DNA in their offspring.[8]

In Aubrey de Grey's proposed SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), one of the considered options to repair the cell depletion related to cellular senescence is to grow replacement tissues from stem cells harvested from a cloned embryo.[9]

There are also ethical objections. Article 11 of UNESCO's Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights asserts that the reproductive cloning of human beings is contrary to human dignity,[10] that a potential life represented by the embryo is destroyed when embryonic cells are used,[11] and there is a significant likelihood that cloned individuals would be biologically damaged, due to the inherent unreliability of cloning technology.[12]

Ethicists have speculated on difficulties that might arise in a world where human clones exist. For example, human cloning might change the shape of family structure by complicating the role of parenting within a family of convoluted kinship relations. For example, a female DNA donor would be the clone's genetic twin, rather than mother, complicating the genetic and social relationships between mother and child as well as the relationships between other family members and the clone.[13] In another example, there may be expectations that the cloned individuals would act identically to the human from which they were cloned, which could infringe on the right to self-determination.[14]

Proponents of animal rights argue that non-human animals possess certain moral rights as living entities and should therefore be afforded the same ethical considerations as human beings. This would negate the exploitation of animals in scientific research on cloning, cloning used in food production, or as other resources for human use or consumption.[15][16]

Religious views

Religious views of cloning are mixed.[17][18]


Judaism does not equate life with conception and, though some question the wisdom of cloning, Orthodox rabbis generally find no firm reason in Jewish law and ethics to object to cloning.[19][20] Liberal Jewish thinkers have cautioned against cloning, among other genetic engineering efforts, though some prize the potential medical advantages.


The Roman Catholic Church, under the papacy of Benedict XVI, condemned the practice of human cloning, in the magisterial instruction Dignitas Personae, stating that it represents a "grave offense to the dignity of that person as well as to the fundamental equality of all people."[21] Many conservative Christian groups have opposed human cloning and the cloning of human embryos, since they believe that life begins at the moment of conception.[22] Other Christian denominations such as the United Church of Christ do not believe a fertilized egg constitutes a living being, but still they oppose the cloning of embryonic cells. The World Council of Churches, representing nearly 400 Christian denominations worldwide, opposed cloning of both human embryos and whole humans in February 2006. The United Methodist Church opposed research and reproductive cloning in May 2000 and again in May 2004.


The prominent Qatari scholar Yusuf Al Qaradawi believes that cloning specific parts of the human body for medical purposes is not prohibited in Islam, but cloning the whole human body would not be permitted under any circumstances. On the issue of animal ethics he takes a more lenient position.[23]

The late Grand Ayatollah of Lebanon, Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah did not see cloning as illegitimate.[24] He also stressed that Islam encourages the pursuit of the sciences including medicine.[24] The Ayatollah did however warn against cloning the entire human being for the purpose of harvesting his or her organs.[24]

Sunni Muslims consider human cloning to be forbidden by Islam.[25] The Islamic Fiqh Academy, in its Tenth Conference proceedings, which was convened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the period from June 28, 1997 to July 3, 1997, issued a Fatwā stating that human cloning is haraam (sinful).[26][27]

Use of cloned animals for food

On December 28, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the consumption of meat and other products from cloned animals.[28] Cloned-animal products were said to be indistinguishable from the non-cloned animals. Furthermore, companies would not be required to provide labels informing the consumer that the meat comes from a cloned animal. In 2007, some meat and dairy producers did propose a system to track all cloned animals as they move through the food chain, suggesting that a national database system integrated into the National Animal Identification System could eventually allow food labeling.[29][30] However, as of 2013 no tracking system exists, and products from cloned animals are sold for human consumption in the United States.[31][32]

Critics have raised objections to the FDA's approval of cloned-animal products for human consumption, arguing that the FDA's research was inadequate, inappropriately limited, and of questionable scientific validity.[33][34][35] Several consumer-advocate groups are working to encourage a tracking program that would allow consumers to become more aware of cloned-animal products within their food.[36]

A 2013 review noted that there is widespread misunderstanding about cloned and cattle, and found that cloned cattle that reached adulthood and entered the food supply were substantially equivalent to conventional cattle with respect to the quality of meat and milk, and with respect to their reproductive capability.[37]


  1. ^ Pence, Gregory E. (1998). Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning?. Rowman & Littlefield. paperback ISBN 0-8476-8782-1 and hardcover ISBN 0-8476-8781-3.
  2. ^ "AAAS Statement on Human Cloning".
  3. ^ McGee, G. (October 2011). "Primer on Ethics and Human Cloning". American Institute of Biological Sciences. Archived from the original on 2013-02-23.
  4. ^ Kfoury, C. (2007). "Therapeutic cloning: Promises and issues". McGill Journal of Medicine. 10 (2): 112–20. PMC 2323472. PMID 18523539.
  5. ^ "Cloning Fact Sheet". U.S. Department of Energy Genome Program. 2009-05-11. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02.
  6. ^ Appel, Jacob M. (2005-12-11). "What Would a Clone Say?". New York Times Magazine.
  7. ^ Appel, Jacob M. (2009-04-05). "Should We Really Fear Reproductive Human Cloning?". The Blog. The Huffington Post.
  8. ^ Staff, Times Higher Education. August 10, 2001 In the news: Antinori and Zavos
  9. ^ de Grey, Aubrey; Rae, Michael (September 2007). Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 416 pp. ISBN 0-312-36706-6.
  10. ^ "Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights". UNESCO. 1997-11-11. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  11. ^ Meissner, Alexander; Jaenisch, Rudolph (2006). "Mammalian nuclear transfer". Developmental Dynamics. 235: 2460–2469. doi:10.1002/dvdy.20915.
  12. ^ Friend, Tim (2003-01-16). "The Real Face of Cloning". USA Today.
  13. ^ McGee, Glenn (2000). 'The Perfect Baby: Parenthood in the New World of Cloning and Genetics.' Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
  14. ^ Havstad, Joyce. "Human Reproductive Cloning: A Conflict of Liberties". San Diego State University. Blackwell Publishing Limited. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  15. ^ Staff, Humane Society Cloning
  16. ^ Sean Poulter for the Daily Mail. November 26, 2010. Clone farming would introduce cruelty on a massive scale, say animal welfare groups
  17. ^ Bob Sullivan, Technology correspondent for MSNBC. November 262003 Religions reveal little consensus on cloning - Health - Special Reports - Beyond Dolly: Human Cloning
  18. ^ William Sims Bainbridge, Ph.D. Religious Opposition to Cloning Journal of Evolution and Technology - Vol. 13 - October 2003
  19. ^ Brody, Michael J. "Cloning People and Jewish Law: A Preliminary Analysis". Jewish Law.
  20. ^ Steinberg, Avraham; Loike, John D. (September 1998). "Human Cloning: Scientific, Ethical and Jewish Perspectives" (PDF). Assia Jewish Medical Ethics. 3 (2): 11–19. PMID 11657947.
  21. ^ Stein, Rob; Boorstein, Michelle (13 December 2008). "Vatican Ethics Guide Stirs Controversy". The Washington Post.
  22. ^ "On the Ethics of Stem Cell Research" (PDF). Focus. Michigan Catholic Conference. 33 (1). February 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28.
  23. ^ Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf (2002-12-29). "Cloning and Its Dangerous Impacts". OnIslam. IslamOnline. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  24. ^ a b c Nasser, Cilinia (2002-03-04). "Fadlallah condones human cloning". The Daily Star. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  25. ^ Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved April 27, 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  27. ^ Islam Question and Answer - Ruling on cloning of human beings
  28. ^ "FDA says cloned animals are OK to eat". Associated Press. December 28, 2006.
  29. ^ "". The San Francisco Chronicle. 2007-12-19.
  30. ^ Pentland, William; Gumpert, David E. (2007-12-31). "USDA Bets the Farm on Animal ID Program". The Nation.
  31. ^ "Genetic Copies Of N Bar Primrose 2424 Dominate Sales At 2008 National Western" (Press release). Bovance. 2009-02-03.
  32. ^ Paynter, Ben. "Cloned Beef (and Pork and Milk): It's What's for Dinner". Wired. 15 (11). Archived from the original on 2015-04-05.
  33. ^ "An HSUS Report: Welfare Issues with Genetic Engineering and Cloning of Farm Animals" (PDF). Humane Society of the United States.
  34. ^ "Not Ready for Prime Time: FDA's Flawed Approach to Assessing the Safety of Food from Animal Clones" (PDF). Center for Food Safety. March 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-30.(PDF)
  35. ^ Hansen, Michael (2007-04-27). "Comments of Consumers Union to US Food and Drug Administration on Docket No. 2003N-0573, Draft Animal Cloning Risk Assessment" (PDF). Consumers Union.
  36. ^ "Tell Congress to create a tracking system for cloned animals!". Center for Food Safety. Archived from the original on 2009-04-04.
  37. ^ Shinya Watanabe. Effect of calf death loss on cloned cattle herd derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer: Clones with congenital defects would be removed by the death loss. Animal Science Journal (September 2013), 84 (9), pg. 631-638 PMID 23829575

Further reading

A Number

A Number is a 2002 play by the English playwright Caryl Churchill which addresses the subject of human cloning and identity, especially nature versus nurture. The story, set in the near future, is structured around the conflict between a father (Salter) and his sons (Bernard 1, Bernard 2, and Michael Black) – two of whom are clones of the first one.

David Rorvik

David Michael Rorvik (born 1944) is an American journalist and novelist who was the author of the 1978 book In his Image: The Cloning of a Man in which he claimed to have been part of a successful endeavor to create a clone of a human being. The book is widely considered to be a hoax.


De-extinction, or resurrection biology, or species revivalism is the process of creating an organism, which is either a member of, or resembles an extinct species, or breeding population of such organisms. Cloning is the most widely proposed method, although selective breeding has also been proposed. Similar techniques have been applied to endangered species.

There is significant controversy over de-extinction. Critics assert that efforts would be better spent conserving existing species, that the habitat necessary for formerly extinct species to survive is too limited to warrant de-extinction, and that the evolutionary conservation benefits of these operations are questionable.

Gregory Pence

Gregory Pence (born January 17, 1948) is an American philosopher.

Human cloning

Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy (or clone) of a human. The term is generally used to refer to artificial human cloning, which is the reproduction of human cells and tissue. It does not refer to the natural conception and delivery of identical twins. The possibility of human cloning has raised controversies. These ethical concerns have prompted several nations to pass laws regarding human cloning and its legality.

Two commonly discussed types of theoretical human cloning are: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning would involve cloning cells from a human for use in medicine and transplants, and is an active area of research, but is not in medical practice anywhere in the world, as of April 2017. Two common methods of therapeutic cloning that are being researched are somatic-cell nuclear transfer and, more recently, pluripotent stem cell induction. Reproductive cloning would involve making an entire cloned human, instead of just specific cells or tissues.

Jurassic Park (film)

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen. The first installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, it is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton and a screenplay written by Crichton and David Koepp. The film is set on the fictional island of Isla Nublar, located off Central America's Pacific Coast near Costa Rica. There billionaire philanthropist John Hammond and a small team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park of de-extinct dinosaurs. When industrial sabotage leads to a catastrophic shutdown of the park's power facilities and security precautions, a small group of visitors, and Hammond's grandchildren, struggle to survive and escape the perilous island.

Before Crichton's novel was published, four studios put in bids for its film rights. With the backing of Universal Studios, Spielberg acquired the rights for $1.5 million before its publication in 1990; Crichton was hired for an additional $500,000 to adapt the novel for the screen. Koepp wrote the final draft, which left out much of the novel's exposition and violence and made numerous changes to the characters. Filming took place in California and Hawaii between August and November 1992, and post-production rolled until May 1993, supervised by Spielberg in Poland as he filmed Schindler's List.

The dinosaurs were created with groundbreaking computer-generated imagery by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs built by Stan Winston's team. To showcase the film's sound design, which included a mixture of various animal noises for the dinosaur roars, Spielberg invested in the creation of DTS, a company specializing in digital surround sound formats. Following an extensive $65 million marketing campaign, which included licensing deals with 100 companies, Jurassic Park premiered on June 9, 1993, at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., and was released on June 11 in the United States. It went on to gross over $914 million worldwide in its original theatrical run becoming the highest-grossing film of 1993 and the highest-grossing film ever at the time, a record held until the release of Titanic in 1997. It was well received by critics, who praised its special effects, John Williams' musical score, and Spielberg's direction. Following its 3D re-release in 2013 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Jurassic Park became the seventeenth film in history to surpass $1 billion in ticket sales.

The film won more than twenty awards, including three Academy Awards for its technical achievements in visual effects and sound design. Jurassic Park is considered a landmark in the development of computer-generated imagery and animatronic visual effects and was followed by four commercially successful sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Jurassic Park III (2001), Jurassic World (2015) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), with a fifth sequel, currently titled Jurassic World 3, scheduled for a 2021 release.

In 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

List of cloned animals in the Jurassic Park series

Jurassic Park is an American science fiction adventure media franchise based on the 1990 best-selling novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, and its sequel, The Lost World (1995). Focused on the catastrophic events following the cloning of dinosaurs through the extraction of DNA from mosquitoes fossilized in amber, the film series also explores the ethics of cloning and genetic engineering, and the morals behind bringing back extinct animals. The first Jurassic Park film was directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1993. It was followed by two films, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001), completing the first trilogy. A fourth installment, Jurassic World, was released in 2015, marking the beginning of a new trilogy. The new trilogy starts 22 years after the events of the first, but still relies on the narrative of the original films and novels. Its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, was released in 2018, and a sixth and final film of the second trilogy is scheduled for release in 2021. The film series has garnered critical acclaim for its innovations in CGI technology and animatronics.

47 species of cloned animals have been portrayed in the novels and films: 39 species of dinosaurs, three species of pterosaurs, three genetically-engineered animals, one species of prehistoric marine reptile, and at least one cloned Homo sapiens. Theropod dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor have had major roles throughout the series. Other species, including Triceratops, Brachiosaurus, and Spinosaurus have also played significant roles.

Outline of ethics

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ethics:

Ethics – major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or life that is simply satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct.

Shock (novel)

Shock is a novel written by Robin Cook in 2001. It is a medical science fiction woven around a fertility clinic that uses unethical means to get rich.

Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (January 5, 1927 – November 12, 2001), also known as Gurudeva by his followers, was born in Oakland, California and adopted Shaivism as a young man. He was the 162nd head of the Nandinatha Sampradaya's Kailasa Parampara and Guru at Kauai's Hindu Monastery which is a 382-acre temple-monastery complex on Hawaii's Garden IslandIn 1947 at the age of 20, he journeyed to India and Sri Lanka and in 1949 was initiated into sannyasa by the renowned siddha yogi and worshiper of Lord Shiva, Jnanaguru Yogaswami of Jaffna, Sri Lanka who was regarded as one of the 20th century's remarkable mystics.

In the 1970s he established a Hindu monastery in Kauai, Hawaii and founded the magazine Hinduism Today. In 1985, he invented Pancha Ganapati as a Hindu alternative to December holidays like Christmas. He was one of Shaivism's Gurus, the founder and leader of the Saiva Siddhanta Church.

He is part of the guru lineage of the Sri Lankan Alaveddy Hindus. His various institutions form a Jaffna-Tamil-based organization which has branched out from his Sri Subramuniya Ashram in Alaveddy to meet the needs of the growing Hindu diaspora of this century. He also established a seven-acre monastery in Mauritius, which includes a public Spiritual Park called "Spiritual Park- Pointe de Lascars". He oversaw more than 50 independent temples worldwide.His influence reflected the reach of his publications, including the approximately 30 books he wrote. Subramuniyaswami was described by Klaus Klostermaier as "the single-most advocate of Hinduism outside India". The book Religious Leaders of America explained Subramuniyaswami's role as "a pillar of orthodox Hinduism"

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