Cloning and Stem Cell Research are two very hotly debated topics at present with people viewing their opinions about both. The article Of Clones and Clowns Robert A. Weinberg, a respected biologist and research scientist discusses cloning, reproductive cloning, and therapeutic cloning. He also discusses those people who enter into this field especially reproductive cloning for monetary or publicity purposes. The basic thrust of the article is that research for therapeutic cloning should not be restricted and the traditional scientific process of peer review should be upheld to keep maintain and uphold the research standards. And politicizing the whole issue has hampered the research instead of aiding it.
To understand who the clowns are in this article it is first important to know the basic difference between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning:
- Reproductive Cloning: Reproductive cloning uses the cloning procedure to produce a cloned embryo, which is implanted in a woman’s womb with intent to create a fully formed living child–a clone.
- Therapeutic Cloning: Therapeutic cloning uses the cloning procedure to produce a cloned embryo, but instead of being implanted in a womb and brought to term it is used to generate stem cells. The purpose of using these embryos to generate stem cells is to allow the creation of tissues or organs that the donor can use without having these tissues or organs rejected by their body’s immune system.
Both processes are very similar but in therapeutic cloning, the embryonic development is stopped at a very early stage when it is a blastocyst. According to Weinberg reproductive cloning is plagued by a lot of problems, including abnormality in fetuses, failure to gestate and Large Offspring Syndrome. And success rate is only 5 %. However, those who are interested in publicity and those who think that making money is more important are making a circus of the whole process. The author calls them clowns, for one reason these people are not serious research scientist dedicated to research, secondly there the whole operation is for monetary gains and publicity stunt. The people mentioned who have used reproductive cloning as a platform, people like Richard Seed and Raelians, and others.
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