What’s a good attention getter if i’m doing an essay on cloning?
Any good statistics, quotes, anecdotes that would be good for the beginning of an essay that would really grab my teachers attention?
How about this: In the weird and wonderful world of mad science, a hybrid half man, man and alien, man and beast, is a creation of limitless fanciful possibility. The robot human who has no conscience becomes the servant of a psycho hell bent on taking over the world.
Or this: The idea of “the clone”, a carbon-copy of a human made to order, has captured the imagination. The creative possibilities are endless. You could produce armies of clones as in Star Wars-Attack Of The Clones.
Dolly the sheep being an exception, no laboratory has produced carbon-copy humans and the idea of transplantable limbs, organs etc. is nothing more than science fiction.
A US team of researchers announced a breakthrough that allows stem cells to be harvested from embryos without destroying the embryo itself. At present stem cells, cells that are not yet ‘programmed’ as skin, liver tissue etc., are harvested from unwanted embryos produced in fertility clinics, and the harvesting methods destroy the embryo. The destruction of embryos is the reason for ethical objections to these harvesting methods. In their eyes, the destruction of potential human life is unlawful and immoral.
Stem cells can be collected from cloned embryos, produced following the removal of the gentically coded nucleus from a human ovum, or egg, and its replacement with the nucleic material from a body cell (typically a skin cell). As that cloned single cell divides and divides, stem cells develop and can be collected. But this process is also unacceptable to some people, again because those cloned embryos are potential human beings.
Michael Chapman (University professor, Head of the school of Women’s and Children’s Health, IVF fertility specialist) believes cloning should be seen in the same context as all other medical research: “Overall, the medical fraternity looks for breakthroughs in health care provision, for new treatments that can be provided to patients with difficult conditions. For example, in the area of kidney disease, if there was capacity in some way to produce kidney tissue, which stem cell research has the potential to do, then that would be a real plus. The diabetes work being done, particularly by Professor Bernie Tuck at Prince of Wales, trying to grow pancreatic cells, for example-when the medical profession sees something potentially of benefit, then-unless there are major side effects or potential complications, and that’s yet to be proven with stem-cell research-there’s natural enthusiasm to remove the barriers. Not that the ethical issues should be dismissed but they do need to be understood clearly. In present stem-cell research, we’re not creating human life. At present, we are using embryos which, in some people’s eyes, are human lives. That’s one issue. The opponents (to this research) say: ‘You’re destroying life to produce a stem-cell line’. The second piece of misinformation is that we’re somehow creating some form of new life capable of being a human-that we’re playing with nature. But that’s not so. In fact, the thing researchers are working on is how to stimulate stem cells to differentiate into a particular line of cells. Embryos created by therapeutic cloning, if left to themselves, would not develop. It’s not an embryo in the sense that it would have the capacity to develop into a human being. And the other accusation is that IVF doctors are actually creating too many embryos specifically for the purpose of stem-cell research-that’s absolute garbage. So far in Australia, between 20 and 50 embryos have been used to create the stem cell lines that are available. And yet in Australia at the moment, there are tens of thousands of embryos in storage, either waiting for use by a woman at her next cycle, for her next child, or awaiting for the time period to elapse when we can no longer store them-which is at present, 10 years. Some patients chose the path of donating embryos for stem-cell research, but probably less than 1 per cent of embryos. The point is, the demand isn’t there-there isn’t a need for hundreds of thousands of embryos. The linkage with cloning and the idea of the Aryan race-that we’re trying to produce this super race-that’s just nonsense, but it hangs there like a bogey over us. It’s not possible, plus it’s banned by law. The law does not allow reproductive cloning, We’re talking about therapeutic cloning, the production of cell lines for specific purposes, with specific licences. There is extremely good evidence that a fertile woman attempting to get pregnant actually creates an embryo in about 50 per cent of their menstrual cycles. In any 12 months of the year, she’ll create an embryo in six of them, but only 15 per cent of them will get past the missed period” (his point is that embryos are routinely lost as a part of the natural evolutionary processes).
Chapman and his wife went through fertility treatment before their own three children were born.
He says, “Those who say at present that stem cell technology is just a theory offering only illusory hope for those with incurable illness, would have said exactly the same thing about penicillin. There is a theoretical basis on which it should succeed, so therefore, it’s worth pursuing. To stop because you have a nihilistic view that any sort of research is bad, that would mean we would never move forward at all.”
The “holy grail” of stem cell technology, is to produce a cure, for example, for spinal cord damage, or renal failure – or even an anti-cancer drug. If any of those advances were made Chapman says, “Then it would be all over, red rover-and it’s in sight.”
Surely, the problems of real people with real illnesses far outweigh the moral problems of stem cell research and therapeutic cloning.
A NSW ban on stem-cell research has been lifted.
A Sydney clinic will be the first company in the world to sell made-to-order stem cells produced from women’s inwanted IVF emobryos. The Stem Cell Company, part of Sydney IVF, is using rejected or leftover embryos that carry genetic diseases to grow new human cells for research. Made-to-order stem cells with genetic diseases are being sold to researchers in the US and Singapore, where they will be used in experiments to try to develop new treatments or cures. Pharmaceutical companies are expected to be the next buyers, as testing drugs on human stem cells instead of live animals is more accurate and cost-effective. Stem cells multiply indefinitely and can be used to test thousands of drugs at once. Women who have donated leftover embryos to Sydney IVF will be informed on the progress of research involving their cells.
Check out this website: www.garvan.org.au – The Garvan Institute is a unique medical research organisation in Sydney. It has international status as one of the world leaders in medical research and a willingness to combine traditional medical knowledge with the latest in genetic research. Good luck with your essay!