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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

8 - Reproductive cloning: science and science fiction

from Section 1 - Cloning



In reading this chapter you will:

learn about the negative public view of human cloning;

consider the possible causes of such public disapprobation;

reflect on the role played by the media in forming public opinion;

note that until cloning is safe it will be wrong to clone a human child;

reflect on whether clones would have free will;

consider whether clones would lack human dignity;

ask whether a clone would have confused and ambiguous relationships;

consider whether cloning for reproductive purposes is morally acceptable.

We saw in the last chapter that embryos produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) can be used for therapeutic or reproductive purposes. In this chapter we shall discuss reproductive cloning: SCNT (or yet-to-be-developed cloning tech- niques) used to produce a live human baby.

The visceral recoil against cloning noted in the last chapter was particularly evident in February 1997. In this month the birth of Dolly the sheep was announced. Dolly was the first mammal cloned by SCNT. The announcement triggered inflammatory headlines worldwide, and an avalanche of international legislation (see Box 8.1).

Putnam, H. 1999 Genetics and Human Diversity Burley, Justine Oxford Oxford University Press
National Bioethics Advisory Commission 1999 Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research Rockville, MD
O'Neill, O. 2002 Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics Cambridge Cambridge University Press