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This report is based on the ethical dilemma of genetic cloning in context of nursing. Since the dawn of the cloning technology, many ethical dilemmas came up. Application of cloning has extended to human and animal cloning.
This assignment discusses the ethical and moral issue associated with genetic cloning, and bio-ethical principle in context of nursing and health-care sector. In conclusion, the technology of cloning has huge potential in future for application in therapeutic purpose, while keeping in mind the ethical concern.
The year 1952 marks the birth of a new era in genetic cloning. Robert Briggs and Thomas King performed the first cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer of leopard frog. Later during 1972, the first successful cloning of a sheep named Dolly was carried out. Since then the need for ethical ramifications of cloning became the forefront of discussion among the scientific and health-care community. A common misconception revolves around the cloning in humans; an exact duplicate of the organism is created by cloning. However, in reality, the process of cloning revolves around producing progeny of the same genotype of an already existing organism (Kuhse, Schüklenk & Singer, 2015). Application of cloning is broadly divided into reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Reproductive cloning refers to the birth of an individual organism with the same genotype, whereas therapeutic cloning refers to cloning embryos for extracting stem cells for plausible use in research and therapeutic use (Vaughn, 2015). The ethical dilemma associated with cloning regards to the destruction of clone, health damage to the mother, lower success rate, and loss of a large number of fetuses and further extending to psychological damage and the altered relationship among individuals.
The area of human cloning receives the main attention in an ethical dilemma. Many people oppose the idea of using stem cells from an embryo as it has the potential to become a full-grown human being. However, in contrary, the scientific community says that the stem cell has no development of nervous system and hence it is not able to sense their surrounding as a human do but it has the potential to become human at a later stage. Regarding reproductive cloning, it is not acceptable in the scientific community as cloning in lower animals has low success rate. Hence, due to the complex nature of human cloning, the challenged is further heightened. The current cost of carrying out cloning is even more expensive than priciest drugs on the market. Cloning of human requires a huge amount of eggs from the female. To procure the eggs surgical operation needs to be carried out which involves risk. Such arrangements and unreliability of the process lead to high cost of the cloning project. Several attempts were made to clone animals and human embryos with mostly failed and fewer successful clones later die out of abnormalities (Ishii, Pera & Greely, 2013).
Governmental organization of every country tries to protect the human life. Michigan is the first state in the USA to ban cloning. The legislation prohibits the use of human cloning for any scientific research using clones. It is an unethical code of conduct for any practicing doctors to use the clone for any organ transplant. If any clone is made it has to be treated with rights and privileges conferred to a human being? (Simpson & Edwards, 2014). According to American Medical Association, there are four points for not encouraging cloning. Firstly, cloning process introduces unknown physical deformities. Secondly, deformation in child leads to violation of privacy and autonomy. Thirdly, cloning puts pressure on societal and familial relations. Lastly, the cloning process alters the human gene pool thereby putting the human race at risk (Wertz & Fletcher, 2012). From the point of view of evolution, cloning is not a good option as it hinders the natural process of gene mixing and matching for keeping the gene pool alive. Thereby the organism suits according to the current environment by the principle of natural selection. The fear of treatment of clones as the second citizen exists in the society. For example, if a clone is solely produced for the production of bone marrow or organ transplant, the question arises whether they would be treated respectfully as their first child or only for the use of purpose. Cloning might be used as a tool to clone a strong people for creating a large group of armies or even creating many hard workers. This might create a division in the society in the human beings and set a stature of lower class belonging to clones (Wertz & Fletcher, 2012).
A mutation arises out of various factors leading alteration in the sequence of base pairs of DNA leading to abnormal childbirth. The technique is robust at this stage and risky right now. A matter of worry in this process relates to the genetic material obtained from an adult, which is already aged (Mason, Laurie & Smith, 013). Therefore, the gene received in the newborn baby is much older on the day of birth. Cloning attempts in animal produced disfigured progeny with severe abnormalities. Therefore, this leads destruction of the long process of cloning embryo, implanting them and finally discarding the unsuccessful attempts. However, the abnormalities sometimes may not appear right after birth and might manifest later (Petersen, 2013).
The powerful technique of genetic cloning might end up using as an abuse. Powerful leaders throughout the world have the tendency to abuse this technology for their own purposes. The cloning technology at present is far more likely to be abused. The concepts of reproductive and therapeutic cloning co-exist together, the techniques used for cloning child is the same process for making cloned embryo. At present, it is still a myth that organs can be obtained from cloned embryos. In reality, a cluster of cells is developed which contains totipotent stem cells, which has the ability to develop into particular cell lineages. The speed at which biotech field is advancing soon there will be a way of growing full organs. An alternative approach is to take cells from the healthy individual, regress it back to another lineage of the cell, and use it for therapeutic use without raising an ethical dilemma (Wahlberg et al., 2013).
The main aim behind the principle of beneficence is to help each other by removing harm, preventing harm and promotion of good. The principle of beneficence gives rise to ethical issues when conflicts arise between patient and nurse. The ethical implication includes; laws regarding reporting STD contamination or abuse, financial related and service related. Paternalism is nursing can be weak or strong. In weak paternalism, the nurses provide help to the patient when they are unable to do things on their own and suffer from depression and effects of medication. Strong paternalism relates to interacting strongly for benefits of the patient, despite the patient course of action are informed.
The principle of Autonomy provides the right to self- determination, meaning the person is conferred to choose his or her own path without interference from others. Many research scientists are against the idea of using cloning and genetic engineering for the purpose of human reproduction because these biotechnologies diminish the autonomy of the child. The child produced by human cloning faces autonomy because people until today mainly conceive the natural way of birth. Another school of thought states that these biotechnologies would undermine the autonomy by taking away people’s right to open and bright future (Singh, Singh & Singh, 2012).
From the point of view of nursing and health care student, the issues about genetic cloning must be viewed from both sides. The world of genetics is fascinating and the basic researchers in this area have developed various technologies for improving the quality of lives. Cloning as a technology is a wonderful advancement in the field of health-care. Personally, I would not recommend using cloning to reproduce human beings. I do not believe that there should be any other way of birth relating to human child and Mother Nature’s way must be preserved. Cloning tissues and organ are treated in a different manner than human cloning. The ethical issues related to the cloning of organs, tissues are not hipped, and people are less cautious towards it. Many active researchers are working in the area of cell biology by targeting the stem cells for developing into a particular group of tissue. And reverse engineer cells to the primitive stage to obtain the desired cell for therapeutic use. With my present understanding of the scenario, I support the use of cloning for tissue and organs, which in turn will lower the suffering of peoples.
On a concluding note, this report discusses the ethical dilemma regarding genetic cloning. The future for genetic cloning in human and animals is certainly a bright idea and has potential to become a miracle technology. Genetic cloning at the lower level animals seems attainable. However doing research and application in cloning process is hindered by legal implication, which is often bases on ethical dilemma and continuation of raising the issue in future from a wide range of ethical concern. The main ethical dilemma in genetic cloning revolves around the premature death of embryo and genetic abnormalities in the progeny. From the health-care and societal point of view, there are many issues coming up but none of them are overwhelming. The main problem lies in the discrimination of the technology and to see the better side of this technology it must be backed by strong law, non-discrimination legislation and educating the public to overcome the situation.
Ishii, T., Pera, R. A. R., & Greely, H. T. (2013). Ethical and legal issues arising in research on inducing human germ cells from pluripotent stem cells. Cell Stem Cell, 13(2), 145-148.
Kuhse, H., Schüklenk, U., & Singer, P. (2015). Bioethics: an anthology (Vol. 40). John Wiley & Sons.
Mason, K., Laurie, G., & Smith, A. M. (2013). Mason and McCall Smith's law and medical ethics. Oxford University Press.
Petersen, A. (2013). From bioethics to a sociology of bio-knowledge. Social Science & Medicine, 98, 264-270.
Simpson, J. L., & Edwards, R. G. (2014). Public objections to designer babies and cloning in USA: not quite what was expected.
Singh, A. K., Singh, S., & Singh, M. P. (2012). Bioethics A new frontier of biological Science. Cell. Mol. Biol, 58(1), 110-114.
Vaughn, L. (2015). Doing ethics: Moral reasoning and contemporary issues. WW Norton & Company.
Wahlberg, A., Rehmann-Sutter, C., Sleeboom-Faulkner, M., Lu, G., Döring, O., Cong, Y., ... & Rose, N. (2013). From global bioethics to ethical governance of biomedical research collaborations. Social Science & Medicine, 98, 293-300.
Wertz, D. C., & Fletcher, J. C. (2012). Genetics and ethics in global perspective (Vol. 17). Springer Science & Business Media.
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