Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Ethics of Cloning

From guest blogger, Leona.

Two days ago, I came across this article on reddit saying that clones of Dolly the sheep aged healthily. They did not show premature age-related problems. The researchers still need to look into the telomere aspects of those clones of a clone, but this at least demonstrated that cloning will not necessarily led to shortened lifespan. Even though these clones might still be prone to having genetic defects and detrimental mutations due to shortened telomere, the fact that their lifespan is largely unaffected can undermine arguments that are similar to Allhoff’s (i.e. cloning is not morally permissible because the clones are expected to have a life that is shorter than the general population and are more likely to have genetic defects).

However, considering the high level of stigma against cloning, I doubt if this recent finding would make cloning more acceptable to many. Besides the Principle Q argument, the slippery slope argument, and the family ethics argument we discussed in class, there are some other interesting arguments against cloning. Two of them are very similar: one argued that cloning is immoral because the clone’s identity is compromised due to having the same genotype as someone who have already lived, thus denied his or her chance to have an open future; the other argued that by having the same genotype as someone else, the clone’s dignity is violated because he or she cannot have a unique genetic identity. One major problem with these two arguments is that they both neglect the roles of nurture, environment, and epigenetic factors. They both made the mistake of genetic essentialism, which assumed genotype is the only determinant factor of one’s identity. In addition, in the case of the second argument we should kill one of the identical twins so the living one can have a unique genetic identity. 

link to the clones of Dolly the sheep:

* On another note, there's an article that is associated with last week's topic, marriage equality, that I found very interesting. Some queer activists are criticizing the marriage equality movement because marriage has a history of being used as a tool for government control of minorities, and the movement was largely planned out by the gay 1% and reinforced the normative view of relationships. In addition, marriage equality was presented as a way to solve healthcare and immigration status issues for minority groups. The authors argued that these issues should be addressed separately in queer activism.

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