Arguments for the use of research cloning

The technical name for cloning is somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Once an embryo is created by SCNT it can be inserted into the womb of a recipient (reproductive cloning) or it can be used for research purposes (particularly with the aim of creating stem cells). This second process has often been described as therapeutic cloning. However some have argued that this terminology is highly misleading as to-date no form of therapy has resulted from SCNT. Hence the phrase research cloning may represent a more neutral and honest form of terminology. However at present this terminology has not gained widespread acceptance.

Basic scientific concepts

A gene is a hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome. Chromosomes consist of long coiled chains of genes and are found within all nucleated cells in the human body. Human beings normally have 23 pairs of chromosomes; one of each pair is inherited from the genetic mother and one from the genetic father.

In reproductive cloning the embryo is then placed into a womb and allowed to develop into a child. In research cloning the embryo is used for research purposes, for example to generate embryonic stem cells2, leading ultimately to its destruction.

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Arguments for the use of research cloning

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