Short Answer Questions
- Does a reproductive clone of a person result in an exact copy of that person? Explain.
- Describe two ethical considerations that have been used to motivate against reproductive cloning.
- Why are reproductive clones currently more prone to genetic defects?
For Further Discussion
- Why Clones? In lecture we discussed various senses in which people place special cultural and emotional value on human descent.
- It is not possible for everyone to produce their own descendants through traditional means (i.e. sexual reproduction). Is there reason to make genetic descendants available to such people through cloning, if it were reasonably possible?
- People often make choices about their offspring's genetic composition, for example by choosing a reproductive mate, choosing a sperm donor, or through genetic testing. Is there any relevant sense in which these existing practices differ from the practice of human cloning?
- Suppose that one (and only one) clone of Einstein were produced from DNA preserved in his brain. What is wrong with this practice, if anything?
- Individuality and family integrity. The US Commission on the ethics of cloning argued that cloning threatened the individuality and autonomy of the clone, as well as the integrity of the traditional family.
- The sense in which indivudality is degraded is the same sense in which the individuality of an identical twin is degraded. Is this a problem? Is there an ethical problem with introducing more "twins" into the world?
- Reproductive cloning would certainly change the structure of the traditional family tree. Is this by itself a problem?
- Banning Cloning. A further concern about cloning is that it might lead to certain children (the cloned ones) being used "merely" as objects. What problems can you imagine of this kind? Is this or any other reason enough to warrant a ban on human reproductive cloning?
- Physical limitations. In lecture, we saw that a special kind of paternal/maternal genetic marking called "imprinting" often fails in cloned embryos, which leads to developmental disorders. (You can read more about genomic imprinting here.)
- One consequence of failed imprinting is that more embryos fail to develop into a fetus than normal. What reasons (if any) might this provide against cloning?
- In your view, will cloning ever be safe and reliable enough to be a viable means of human reproduction? And is it worth the cost of getting to that stage of reliability?
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