Human cloning: what is it ?
The word "cloning" etymologically comes from the Greek and means "asexual reproduction". Two types of human cloning need to be differentiated: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning.
Therapeutic cloning enables the creation of embryonic stem cells. Stem cells are multi-functional cells which can be further specialized into brain cells, liver cells etc. These stem cells are genetically identical to the ones of the original cell donor and can therefore be used to create specialized cells artificially in order to fight diseases and eventually even create genetically compatible organs.
Reproductive human cloning gives life to a new human being. Until recently only sexual reproduction or artificial reproduction techniques e.g. IVF existed. Reproductive cloning represents a new reproduction technique by which life can be given to an identical twin of the original cell donor.
Who is it for ?
Therapeutic cloning can be used to fight diseases and create organs artificially. Once specialized cells can be derived from cloned embryos the following diseases threatening millions of people on earth can be treated:
In addition, it will help to save the lives of the thousands of people worldwide waiting for an organ transplantation by helping to create artificial organs. Not only is it difficult today to obtain an organ but even if organs are available many are being rejected by the body because of incompatibility; let alone the brutal way some organs are being obtained i.e. by buying them from people in third world countries or even extracting them without the donor's consent ! Therapeutic cloning will eventually provide genetically 100% compatible organs such as livers, kidneys etc. and therefore save the lives of those who would perish without it.
Reproductive human cloning helps: