The recent years have witnessed a lot of advancement in biotechnologies and stem cell research. Irrespective of the fact that the progress is witnessing many challenges both legal and scientific, it offers a tremendous potential in regenerative medicine and for treating genetic defects. Therapeutic cloning refers to the transfer of nuclear material that is isolated from a somatic cell into an enucleated oocyte (Kfoury, 2007). The main goal of therapeutic cloning is to derive embryonic cell lines with the same genome as the nuclear donor.
Kaplan in her article "Scientists create a part-human, part-pig embryo - raising the possibility of interspecies organ transplants," addresses the recent scientific breakthrough in creating the first part-pig part human embryo. The article offers insight into the process used in the creation of the embryo by outlining the various steps used in creating the hybrid, which is named chimera. Cohen in his article, "Any idiot can do it.' Genome editor CRISPR could put mutant mice within everyone's reach" analyzes the role of CRISPR in therapeutic cloning. CRISPR uses molecular complex that does target genetic surgery on a fertilized egg (Cohen, 2016). The method is fast can produce a strain of transformed mice in 6 months.
Somatic cell nuclear transfer in therapeutic cloning has a lot of potential for research and clinical applications. The product of the process can be used as a vector for gene delivery, cell replacement in therapy in regenerative medicine, and the creation of animal models of human diseases ("The Value of Therapeutic Cloning for Patients", n.d.). Furthermore, therapeutic cloning is essential because it has the potential to create different types of tissue such as osteoblasts to counter osteoporosis.
Additionally, the process of therapeutic cloning is an important step towards tissue engineering and the production of organs that can be essential in solving the problems of organ shortage and problems of immune rejection. Kaplan adds that the process is the most successful attempt on the creation of human-animal chimera and is a significant step in the development of animal embryos that have functioning human organs (Kaplan, 2017). Cohen, on the other hand, argues that CRISPR is an important step towards reducing the time used in the engineering of mice (Cohen, 2016). It is a more effective technique that allows more savings and increases the efficiency of cell engineering unlike the use of ES cells. Additionally, the author suggests that CRISPS facilitated the mutation of several suspected cancer genes simultaneously in the somatic cells of adult mice. Therefore, the method can be used in developing mutations that act as barcodes and allow scientists to track cell lineages as they differentiate. Furthermore, therapeutic cloning can be useful in the treatment of diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkison's disease marking a very significant step in the advancement of human health.
What Ethical Issues Do You Identify
The ethical issue in the research is on the introduction of human material into animals. The article suggests that stem cells can become any kind of tissue including parts of the nervous system raising the concern of an animal with human reproductive organs or brain. Additionally, I have ethical concerns on the symbolic line between human and animal genetic material that should not be crossed. The derivation of stem cell lines from oocytes and embryos is an ethical concern that needs to be addressed. If these experiments continue, it is likely to lead to human cloning which is unethical (Lo & Parham, 2009). Therefore, despite the fact that the use of human stem cells can be instrumental in regenerative medicine and the treatment of genetic defects, strict measures should be used to ensure human cloning does not occur.
Additionally, I have an ethical concern in the retrieval of oocyte because of the medical risks involved. Retrieval of an oocyte is likely to lead to bleeding, infections, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and complications of anesthesia. Despite the fact that measures are in place to reduce these risks, it is still a huge ethical concern.
The value of regenerative science and the use of stem cells in developing measures that can address complications such as diabetes and the Parkison's disease cannot be underestimated. I know ease human conditions and provide a breakthrough for dealing with common ailments that are difficult to treat. I know the use of animal oocytes to create SCNT lines using DNA is instrumental in research. However, it is important to consider the effects it has on the human race. For instance, a cytoplasmic hybrid embryo that may end up with the creation of chimeras is not morally right. It is against the natural order of God and the world and is not in the natural law.
Additionally, errors are likely to arise during reprogramming of genetic material. The fact that newborn clones misexpress many genes, and that cloned animal embryos fail to activate key embryonic genes (Lo & Parham, 2009). Such errors may lead to congenital defects that would interfere with the regenerated embryo. In addition to these defects, the stem cell transfer undermines the moral and religious values that as Christians we are required to adhere to. Cloned children may suffer from psychological torture owing to their origin. Therefore, I urge you to put tougher measures that will ensure cloning humans remain illegal.
Furthermore, I have great concern for oocyte donation. Other than the fact that it endangers a woman's health, it is very wrong to harvest eggs from a human being because it is against Christianity teachings. The bible is clear on anybody modifications and does not permit the interference with any body part because it is the temple of the holy spirit. Additionally, I feel that encouraging oocyte donation will make more women who are in financial crisis want to donate to get financial relief. Despite the fact that measures are in place to prevent payment of any kind for oocyte donations, some of you allow payment for expenses used in the whole process. I need to point to you that this factor drives some women to donate their oocytes. Therefore, I urge to ensure measures are in place to limit oocyte donation. I know it helps women with reproductive problems but Christianity teaches the value of patience and waiting for God's time to have a baby.
In conclusion, the value of therapeutic cloning in us understanding the basic mechanisms of human development and differentiation cannot be underestimated. Additionally, stem cells are known for their role in offering hope for new treatments of conditions such as spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and myocardial infarction. However, in the use of stem cells, it is important to consider the ethical concerns that arise from the same. Deriving the stem cell lines from oocytes and embryos raises the whole concern on the onset of human personhood. Additionally, the use of stem cells may result in children with congenital defects that are may interfere with the normal way of life. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the ethical issues and concerns from therapeutic cloning and the use of human stem cells in research. Putting measures in place to guide the process can help in dealing with any problems that may arise and help in advancing scientific research.
Cohen, J. (2016). 'Any idiot can do it.' Genome editor CRISPR could put mutant mice in everyone's reach. Science | AAAS. Retrieved 20 March 2018, from http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/any-idiot-can-do-it-genome-editor-crispr-could-put-mutant-mice-everyones-reach
Kaplan, S. (2018). Scientists create a part-human, part-pig embryo - raising the possibility of interspecies organ transplants. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/01/26/scientists-create-a-part-human-part-pig-embryo-raising-the-possibility-of-interspecies-organ-transplants/?utm_term=.211cc3bf9b88
Kfoury, C. (2007). Therapeutic cloning: Promises and issues. McGill Journal of Medicine: MJM, 10(2), 112-120.
Lo, B., & Parham, L. (2009). Ethical issues in stem cell research. Endocrine Reviews, 30(3), 204-213. http://doi.org/10.1210/er.2008-0031The Value of Therapeutic Cloning for Patients. BIO. Retrieved from https://www.bio.org/articles/value-therapeutic-cloning-patients
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