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What Are the Medical Advantages of Cloning?

A scientist working in a cloning lab.
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  • Written By: Melanie Smeltzer
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
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Although there are many potential downsides, and many people feel uncertain about whether or not this practice is morally right, the advantages of cloning are numerous. Certain types of cloning may be used to create food sources with a higher nutritional value, while others may be used to create types of medicine or treatments. One of the best-known advantages of cloning is organ transplantation, which could potentially save the lives of accident victims and of those waiting for an organ donation.

The medical benefits of cloning may begin with the actual nourishment of the body. Not only can cloned cows and chickens produce more eggs and milk, but scientists may also be able to genetically alter the nutritional value of these foods. Infants incapable of breastfeeding may also benefit from certain types of animal cloning. For instance, a cow whose genetic code is manipulated may produce milk that contains proteins similar to those found in human breast milk.

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Fertility is another one of the possible advantages of cloning. For those who are sterile, this solution may provide hope where other options have failed. One of the most common processes of reproductive cloning begins by injecting the genetic material of one parent into an egg. Once this is done, the egg is stimulated by electricity or chemicals, then placed into the uterus. Although this process has been accomplished to some degree in animals, further research is needed to see whether or not it will also work for humans.

Besides nutrition and fertility, the benefit of cloning reach into treating and possibly curing many medical issues. Organ transplantation is the best-known medical use for cloning. Sometimes transplanted organs are harvested from animals, which are regularly rejected by human recipients. Cloned animals, however, may bear human genes, which may make rejection less common. Cloning may also be beneficial in replacing bone, cartilage, and skin in burn and accident victims.

Other medical advantages of cloning consist of the creation of advanced medicine. These medicines may be used for heart and bone marrow treatments, to control diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and perhaps even to cure kidney conditions and Parkinson's disease. In addition, cloning might also be able to cure certain types of cancer by replacing mutated genes with healthy, normal ones. This process often consists of taking immune cells from the patient's own body, duplicating them, and then placing them back into the system.

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irontoenail
Post 4

@Mor - I'm hoping that the benefits of cloning will be tempered with wisdom and that we won't get to the point where we try to manipulate intelligence, or do things like cloning specific people. Because I think, if nothing else, we will quickly see that it's not as easy as science fiction makes it look. People are made up of more than just genetics. They are made up of experiences. And cloning has nothing to do with that.

Mor
Post 3

@croydon - I don't know that it would do much to lower the birthrate for puppies. I think that's mainly due to the kinds of people who wouldn't get their pet cloned anyway.

But it brings up one of the things that really scares me about this kind of technology. It can lead to people living longer, because of replacement organs and things like that, but it's always going to be expensive. I can't imagine we're close to the time when it will be cheap to order a new cloned liver.

Which means that it's going to give even more of an advantage to the rich and create even greater divides in the class system.

There are already children who can't do as well in school because they can't afford to buy lunch. Those kids might eventually be competing against kids whose genes were manipulated to be super-smart or athletic because their parents could afford to do so.

croydon
Post 2

One of the advantages of cloning that seems to come up a lot is that people might be able to clone their pets after they pass away, so they'll have the exact same pet back again.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I feel like death is an important part of life and something that people should learn to deal with. Even clones aren't going to be a perfect replica of a lost pet, because they won't have the same experiences and so won't have the same personality.

On the other hand, if this means that people will stop allowing their pets to produce multiple litters just because they think their particular dog is something special, then I would be all for it.

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