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Human cloning

Human cloning

Overview
Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. It does not usually refer to monozygotic multiple birth
Multiple birth
A multiple birth occurs when more than one fetus is carried to term in a single pregnancy. Different names for multiple births are used, depending on the number of offspring. Common multiples are two and three, known as twins and triplets...

s nor the reproduction of human cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 or tissue
Tissue (biology)
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

. The ethics of cloning is an extremely controversial issue. The term is generally used to refer to artificial human cloning; human clones in the form of identical twins
TWINS
Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers are a pair of NASA instruments aboard two United States National Reconnaissance Office satellites in Molniya orbits. TWINS was designed to provide stereo images of the Earth's ring current. The first instrument, TWINS-1, was launched aboard USA-184...

 are commonplace, with their cloning occurring during the natural process of reproduction.

There are two commonly discussed types of human cloning: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning.
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Encyclopedia
Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. It does not usually refer to monozygotic multiple birth
Multiple birth
A multiple birth occurs when more than one fetus is carried to term in a single pregnancy. Different names for multiple births are used, depending on the number of offspring. Common multiples are two and three, known as twins and triplets...

s nor the reproduction of human cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 or tissue
Tissue (biology)
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

. The ethics of cloning is an extremely controversial issue. The term is generally used to refer to artificial human cloning; human clones in the form of identical twins
TWINS
Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers are a pair of NASA instruments aboard two United States National Reconnaissance Office satellites in Molniya orbits. TWINS was designed to provide stereo images of the Earth's ring current. The first instrument, TWINS-1, was launched aboard USA-184...

 are commonplace, with their cloning occurring during the natural process of reproduction.

There are two commonly discussed types of human cloning: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning involves cloning cells from an adult for use in medicine and is an active area of research. Reproductive cloning would involve making cloned humans.

A third type of cloning called replacement cloning is a theoretical possibility, and would be a combination of therapeutic and reproductive cloning. Replacement cloning would entail the replacement of an extensively damaged, failed, or failing body through cloning followed by whole or partial brain transplant.

History


Although the possibility of cloning
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

 humans has been the subject of speculation for much of the twentieth century, scientists and policy makers began to take the prospect seriously in the 1960s.

Nobel Prize winning geneticist Joshua Lederberg
Joshua Lederberg
Joshua Lederberg ForMemRS was an American molecular biologist known for his work in microbial genetics, artificial intelligence, and the United States space program. He was just 33 years old when he won the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that bacteria can mate and...

 advocated for cloning and genetic engineering
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

 in a seminal article in The American Naturalist in 1966 and again, the following year, in The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

. He sparked a debate with conservative bioethicist Leon Kass
Leon Kass
Leon Richard Kass is an American physician, scientist, educator, and public intellectual, best known as proponent of liberal education via the "Great Books," as an opponent of human cloning and euthanasia, as a critic of certain areas of technological progress and embryo research, and for his...

, who wrote at the time that "the programmed reproduction of man will, in fact, dehumanize him." Another Nobel Laureate, James D. Watson
James D. Watson
James Dewey Watson is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick...

, publicized the potential and the perils of cloning in his Atlantic Monthly essay, "Moving Toward the Clonal Man", in 1971.

The technology of cloning mammals, although far from reliable, has reached the point where many scientists are knowledgeable, the literature is readily available, and the implementation of the technology is not very expensive compared to many other scientific processes. For that reason Lewis D. Eigen has argued that human cloning attempts will be made in the next few years and may well have been already begun.


"By waiting until the first clone is among us or about to be born, we complicate the problem immensely and guarantee that we will not be able to have the national and international conversation and debate to arrive at particularly good decisions like using protection."

Notable cloning attempts and claims

  • Dr. Panayiotis Zavos
    Panayiotis Zavos
    Panayiotis Michael Zavos is a Greek Cypriot biologist from Cyprus. He is also an American citizen who currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.-Biography:...

    , an American fertility doctor, revealed on 17 January 2004 at a London press conference that he had transferred a freshly cloned embryo into a 35-year-old woman. On 4 February 2004, it emerged that the attempt had not worked and the woman did not become pregnant.

Popularization


There are two types of popularization of human cloning; the popularization that critiques its ethics and implications, and the ones that advocate its uses and benefits to society. Popular media has a strong hold on its coverage, and can sometimes sway views. In an article in the November 8, 1993 article of Time Magazine, cloning was portrayed in a negative way, modifying Michelangelo's Creation of Adam to depict Adam with five identical hands. Newsweek Magazine's March 10, 1997 issue also critiqued the ethics of human cloning, and included a graphic depicting identical babies in beakers. There are also many books that critique the ethics of human cloning. One such book is Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

's Brave New World
Brave New World
Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's fifth novel, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540 , the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of...

, which satirically describes a world in which gene therapy and human cloning have destroyed any sense of individuality. On the other hand, there are organizations that attempt to portray cloning more positively, through such ideas as organ donation from cloned species. Groups like these advocate human cloning's uses and benefits to the majority of society.

Ethical implications



Advocates of human therapeutic cloning
Somatic cell nuclear transfer
In genetics and developmental biology, somatic-cell nuclear transfer is a laboratory technique for creating a clonal embryo, using an ovum with a donor nucleus . It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or, potentially, in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as...

 believe the practice could provide genetically identical cells for regenerative medicine
Regenerative medicine
Regenerative medicine is the "process of replacing or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore orestablish normal function". This field holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body by replacing damaged tissue and/or by stimulating the body's own repair...

, and tissues and organs for transplantation. Such cells, tissues and organs would neither trigger an immune response nor require the use of Immunosuppressive drug
Immunosuppressive drug
Immunosuppressive drugs or immunosuppressive agents are drugs that inhibit or prevent activity of the immune system. They are used in immunosuppressive therapy to:...

s Both basic research and therapeutic development for serious diseases such as cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

, heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

 and diabetes
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

, as well as improvements in burn treatment and reconstructive and cosmetic surgery
Plastic surgery
Plastic surgery is a medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery, most plastic surgery is not cosmetic: plastic surgery includes many types of reconstructive surgery, hand...

, are areas that might benefit from such new technology.

Proponents claim that human reproductive cloning would also produce benefits. Severino Antinori
Severino Antinori
Severino Antinori is an Italian gynecologist and embryologist. He has publicly taken controversial positions over in vitro fertilisation and human cloning....

 and Panayiotis Zavos
Panayiotis Zavos
Panayiotis Michael Zavos is a Greek Cypriot biologist from Cyprus. He is also an American citizen who currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.-Biography:...

 hope to create a fertility treatment that allows parents who are both infertile to have children with at least some of their DNA in their offspring.
Some scientists, including Dr. Richard Seed, suggest that human cloning might obviate the human aging process. Dr. Preston Estep
Preston Estep
Preston W. Estep III is an American biologist and science and technology advocate. He is a graduate of Cornell University, where he did neuroscience research, and he earned a Ph.D. in Genetics from Harvard University. He did his doctoral research in the laboratory of genomics pioneer Professor...

 has suggested the terms "replacement cloning" to describe the generation of a clone of a previously living person, and "persistence cloning" to describe the production of a cloned body for the purpose of obviating aging, although he maintains that such procedures currently should be considered science fiction and current cloning techniques risk producing a prematurely aged child.

In Aubrey de Grey
Aubrey de Grey
Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey is an English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology, and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation. He is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging and co-author...

's proposed SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), one of the considered options to repair the cell depletion related to cellular senescence
Senescence
Senescence or biological aging is the change in the biology of an organism as it ages after its maturity. Such changes range from those affecting its cells and their function to those affecting the whole organism...

 is to grow replacement tissues from stem cells harvested from a cloned embryo.

Human cloning also raises implications of a socio-ethical nature, particularly concerning the role that cloning might play in changing the shape of family
Family
In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...

 structure by complicating the role of parenting within a family of convoluted kinship relations. For example, a female DNA donor would be the clone's genetic twin, rather than mother, complicating the genetic and social relationships between mother and child as well as the relationships between other family members and the clone.

United Nations


On December 13, 2001, the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 began elaborating an international convention against the reproductive cloning of humans. A broad coalition of States, including Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 and the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 sought to extend the debate to ban all forms of human cloning, noting that, in their view, therapeutic human cloning violates human dignity. Costa Rica proposed the adoption of an international convention to ban all forms of human cloning. Unable to reach a consensus on a binding convention, in March 2005 a non-binding United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning calling for the ban of all forms of Human Cloning contrary to human dignity, was finally adopted.

Australia


Australia had prohibited human cloning, though as of December 2006, a bill legalising therapeutic cloning and the creation of human embryos for stem cell research passed the House of Representatives. Within certain regulatory limits, and subject to the effect of state legislation, therapeutic cloning is now legal in some parts of Australia.

European Union


The European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine prohibits human cloning in one of its additional protocols, but this protocol has been ratified only by Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union citizens and residents, into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of...

 explicitly prohibits reproductive human cloning. The charter is legally binding for the institutions of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 under the Treaty of Lisbon
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

.

United States


In 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007, the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 voted whether to ban all human cloning, both reproductive and therapeutic. Each time, divisions in the Senate over therapeutic cloning prevented either competing proposal (a ban on both forms or reproductive cloning only) from passing. On Mar 10, 2010 a bill (HR 4808) was introduced with a section banning federal funding for human cloning. Such a law, if passed, would not prevent research from occurring in private institutions (such as universities) that have both private and federal funding. There are currently no federal laws in the United States which ban cloning completely, and any such laws would raise difficult Constitutional
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 questions similar to the issues raised by abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

. Thirteen American states (Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

) ban reproductive cloning and three states (Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

) prohibit use of public funds for such activities.

United Kingdom


On January 14, 2001 the British government
Government of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Government is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government is led by the Prime Minister, who selects all the remaining Ministers...

 passed The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Research Purposes) Regulations 2001 to amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990
The 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.-Coverage:The act covers several areas:# The licensing of human fertility treatment involving the use of donated genetic material ....

 by extending allowable reasons for embryo research to permit research around stem cells and cell nuclear replacement, thus allowing therapeutic cloning
Somatic cell nuclear transfer
In genetics and developmental biology, somatic-cell nuclear transfer is a laboratory technique for creating a clonal embryo, using an ovum with a donor nucleus . It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or, potentially, in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as...

. However, on 15 November 2001, a pro-life group won a High Court
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 legal challenge, which struck down the regulation and effectively left all forms of cloning unregulated in the UK. Their hope was that Parliament would fill this gap by passing prohibitive legislation. Parliament was quick to pass the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001
Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001
The Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom "to prohibit the placing in a woman of a human embryo which has been created otherwise than by fertilisation"...

 which explicitly prohibited reproductive cloning. The remaining gap with regard to therapeutic cloning was closed when the appeals courts reversed the previous decision of the High Court.

The first licence was granted on August 11, 2004 to researchers at the University of Newcastle to allow them to investigate treatments for diabetes
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

, Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...

 and Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008
The Bill's discussion in Parliament did not permit time to debate whether it should extend abortion rights under the Abortion Act 1967 to also cover Northern Ireland...

, a major review of fertility legislation, repealed the 2001 Cloning Act by making amendments of similar effect to the 1990 Act. The 2008 Act also allows experiments on hybrid human-animal embryos.

Religious objections


The Roman Catholic Church, under the papacy of Benedict XVI, has condemned the practice of human cloning, in the magisterial instruction Dignitas Personae
Dignitas Personae
Dignitas Personae is the title of a 2008 instruction by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith giving doctrinal directives on certain embryonic ethical controversies that had emerged since 1987, after Donum Vitae was released....

, stating that it represents a "grave offense to the dignity of that person as well as to the fundamental equality of all people."

Sunni Muslims can potentially subscribe to considering human cloning to be forbidden by Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The Islamic Fiqh Academy
Islamic Fiqh Academy
Islamic Fiqh Academy is an Academy for advanced study of Islam based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was created at the decision of the second summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference 1974 and inaugurated in February 1988.-References:...

, in its Tenth Conference proceedings, which was convened in Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 in the period from June 28, 1997 to July 3, 1997, issued a Fatwā
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 stating that human cloning is haraam
Haraam
Haraam is an Arabic term meaning "forbidden", or "sacred". In Islam it is used to refer to anything that is prohibited by the word of Allah in the Qur'an or the Hadith Qudsi. Haraam is the highest status of prohibition given to anything that would result in sin when a Muslim commits it...

 (prohibited by the faith). Importantly, it is not incumbent upon Muslims to subscribe to the Fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 of any authority they do not themselves choose to accept as legally binding.

In popular culture


Cloning is a recurring theme in a wide variety of contemporary science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, ranging from action films such as the 2000 film The 6th Day
The 6th Day
The 6th Day is a 2000 American science fiction action thriller film directed by Roger Spottiswoode, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as family man Adam Gibson, who is cloned against his will in the future of 2015...

to comedies such as Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

's 1973 film Sleeper
Sleeper (film)
Sleeper is a 1973 futuristic science fiction comedy film, written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, and directed by Allen. The plot involves the adventures of the owner of a Greenwich Village, NY health food store played by Woody Allen who is cryogenically frozen in 1973 and defrosted 200...

. The Radiohead
Radiohead
Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke , Jonny Greenwood , Ed O'Brien , Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway .Radiohead released their debut single "Creep" in 1992...

 album Kid A
Kid A
Kid A is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Radiohead, released in October 2000 by the Parlophone label. A commercial success worldwide, Kid A went platinum in its first week of release in the United Kingdom. Despite the lack of an official single or music video as publicity, Kid A...

has been suggested to be the story of the first human clone.

Cloning has been used in fiction as a way of recreating historical figures. The 1973 novel Joshua Son of None
Joshua Son of None
Joshua Son of None is a 1973 political thriller by Nancy Freedman.Dr. Thor Bitterbaum is in Dallas in November 1963 when the mortally wounded President of the United States is brought to the hospital at which he works. Bitterbaum, recalling recent research in cloning, saves some of the President's...

revolves around the cloning of an assassinated American president strongly implied to be John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

. In the 1976 Ira Levin
Ira Levin
Ira Levin was an American author, dramatist and songwriter.-Professional life:Levin attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa...

 novel The Boys from Brazil
The Boys from Brazil (novel)
The Boys from Brazil is a 1976 thriller novel by Ira Levin. It was subsequently made into a movie of the same name that was released in 1978.- Plot :...

and its 1978 film adaptation
The Boys from Brazil (film)
The Boys from Brazil is a 1978 British/American science fiction/thriller film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. It stars Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, with James Mason, Lilli Palmer, Uta Hagen and Steve Guttenberg in supporting roles...

, Josef Mengele
Josef Mengele
Josef Rudolf Mengele , also known as the Angel of Death was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. He earned doctorates in anthropology from Munich University and in medicine from Frankfurt University...

 uses cloning to create copies of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. A Parade of Mirrors and Reflections, a novel by Anatoly Kudryavitsky
Anatoly Kudryavitsky
Anthony Kudryavitsky born in Moscow on 17 August 1954, better known by his pen name Anatoly Kudryavitsky , is a Russian-Irish novelist, poet and literary translator.-Biography:...

, centers on the cloning of deceased Soviet premier Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

. In the 2002-2003 animated series Clone High
Clone High
Clone High is a Canadian-American animated television series that aired for one season on MTV and Teletoon....

, the US military secretly runs a high school attended by clones of various historical leaders.

Several works of fiction portray a future in which human cloning has become the normal process of reproduction for various reasons. Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

's 1932 novel Brave New World
Brave New World
Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's fifth novel, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540 , the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of...

envisions a futuristic world in which large numbers of clones are cultivated industrially and conditioned before birth for specific castes. The 2005 film Æon Flux
Æon Flux (film)
New Zealander Graeme Revell composed the score for Æon Flux; the soundtrack is available via Varèse Sarabande as advertised on the film's official website -Comic book prequel:...

depicts a future when the human species survives by means of cloning due to generalized infertility
Infertility
Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception. Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term...

. In the comic book series Y: The Last Man
Y: The Last Man
Y: The Last Man is a comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra published by Vertigo beginning in 2002. The series is about the only man to survive the apparent simultaneous death of every male mammal on Earth...

, the spontaneous death of every male on the planet necessitates the use of human cloning to prevent the extinction of humanity.

The implications of using clones to replace deceased loved ones are explored in several works of fiction. In Margaret Peterson Haddix's novel Double Identity, the main character discovers that she is a clone of her deceased older sister. The 2010 film Womb
Womb (film)
Womb is a 2010 film written and directed by Benedek Fliegauf and starring Eva Green and Matt Smith.-Plot:The film commences with a pregnant woman telling her unborn child that the father has departed for good, but that together they will start a new life. A love story is then told between two...

 involves a woman impregnating herself with a clone of her deceased fiancé.

A recurring sub-theme of cloning fiction is the use of clones as a supply of organs
Organ (anatomy)
In biology, an organ is a collection of tissues joined in structural unit to serve a common function. Usually there is a main tissue and sporadic tissues . The main tissue is the one that is unique for the specific organ. For example, main tissue in the heart is the myocardium, while sporadic are...

 for transplantation
Organ transplant
Organ transplantation is the moving of an organ from one body to another or from a donor site on the patient's own body, for the purpose of replacing the recipient's damaged or absent organ. The emerging field of regenerative medicine is allowing scientists and engineers to create organs to be...

. The 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro
Kazuo Ishiguro
Kazuo Ishiguro OBE or ; born 8 November 1954) is a Japanese–English novelist. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and his family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from University of Kent in 1978 and his Master's from the University of East Anglia's creative writing...

 novel Never Let Me Go and the 2010 film adaption
Never Let Me Go (2010 film)
Never Let Me Go is a 2010 British dystopian drama film based on Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Mark Romanek from a screenplay by Alex Garland. Never Let Me Go is set in an alternate history and centers on Kathy, Ruth and Tommy who are portrayed by Carey...

 are set in an alternate history in which cloned humans are created for the sole purpose of providing organ donations to naturally born humans. The 2005 film The Island
The Island (2005 film)
The Island is a 2005 American science fiction/thriller film directed by Michael Bay and starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. It was released on July 22, 2005 in the United States, and was nominated for three awards including the Teen Choice Award....

revolves around a similar plot, with the exception that the clones are unaware of the reason for their existence. The main character of Nancy Farmer
Nancy Farmer
Nancy Farmer may refer to:* Nancy Farmer , former State Treasurer of Missouri* Nancy Farmer , three-time winner of the Newbery Honor and winner of National Book Award...

's young adult science fiction novel The House of the Scorpion
The House of the Scorpion
The House of the Scorpion is a science fiction novel by Nancy Farmer. It is about a young boy named Matteo Alacrán who is being raised by a drug lord of the same name, usually referred to by his assumed title "El Patrón" throughout the text. It is a story about the struggle to survive as a free...

discovers that he is a clone of a prominent drug lord who plans to use his organs as a way of extending his life. The Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: Enterprise is a science fiction television series. It follows the adventures of humanity's first warp 5 starship, the Enterprise, ten years before the United Federation of Planets shown in previous Star Trek series was formed.Enterprise premiered on September 26, 2001...

episode "Similitude" deals with the moral and ethical issues surrounding growing a human clone to harvest tissue for an injured crewman. The Kryptonians of the Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

comic book series each possess three clones that provide them with body parts.

The use of human clones for evil purposes is a theme explored in the Nintendo 64
Nintendo 64
The , often referred to as N64, was Nintendo′s third home video game console for the international market. Named for its 64-bit CPU, it was released in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America, March 1997 in Europe and Australia, September 1997 in France and December 1997 in Brazil...

 first-person shooter game Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark is a first-person shooter video game developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It is considered the spiritual successor to Rare's earlier first-person shooter GoldenEye 007, with which it shares many gameplay features...

. Having their request for the use of the Pelagic II turned down by the US President, the evil dataDyne Corporation secretly makes a clone of him and plans to kill the original, thus having access to the vehicle to perform a deep-sea search for the Cetan ship, which contains a vastly powerful weapon. The game's protagonist, Joanna Dark, controlled by the player, kills the clone and foils dataDyne's plans. The differences between the President and his clone are that the President is wearing his suit and follows Joanna, while his counterpart is wearing only a long-sleved t-Shirt and a tie (without the suit) and flees upon sighting Joanna. The heavily criticized Spider-Man
Spider-Man
Spider-Man is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15...

1990's storyline 'Clone Saga
Clone Saga
The Clone Saga or Spider-Clone Saga was a major story arc in Marvel Comics which ran from 1994 to 1996 involving many clones of Spider-Man.The story is considered to be one of the most controversial Spider-Man stories ever told...

', Spider-Man was cloned several times, one of whom- Ben Reilly
Ben Reilly
Benjamin "Ben" Reilly is a fictional character in the . He is a clone of Peter Parker , and is prominent in the "Clone Saga" story arc...

 (who was once believed to be the original Peter Parker) took the mantle of the hero. In Hitman (series)
Hitman (series)
Hitman is a stealth game series developed by the Danish company IO Interactive. The series is available on PC as well as several video game consoles, including the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360. The game series has since expanded into a novel, Hitman: Enemy Within written by...

, Agent 47
Agent 47
Agent 47 is a fictional character and the main protagonist in the Hitman video-game series. Created by IO Interactive, the character was developed around David Bateson, who also provided the in-game voice...

 is himself a human clone trained as a hired asassin .

The use of human cloning for military purposes has also been explored in several works. The Clone Wars
Clone Wars (Star Wars)
The Clone Wars are a series of fictional intragalactic battles in George Lucas's science fiction saga Star Wars. The conflict is first mentioned in the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope , but no details are given , and the wars themselves are not featured until the series' fifth and sixth...

 portrayed in the Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

franchise depicts the use of clones to rapidly create a well-trained and expendable army. The Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear (series)
is a series of stealth video games created by Hideo Kojima and developed and published by Konami. The first game, Metal Gear, was released in 1987 for the MSX2. The player takes control of a special forces operative Solid Snake who is assigned to find the eponymous superweapon "Metal Gear", a...

video game franchise involves the use of human cloning to create copies of a legendary soldier. In the Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

episode The Doctor's Daughter
The Doctor's Daughter
"The Doctor's Daughter" is the sixth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 10 May 2008.- Synopsis :...

, a tissue sample from The Doctor's arm is used to create a full-grown female soldier. The main antagonist of the film Star Trek Nemesis is a clone of Jean-Luc Picard
Jean-Luc Picard
Captain Jean-Luc Picard is a Star Trek character portrayed by Patrick Stewart. He appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the feature films Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek Nemesis...

, created by the Romulans as part of a plot to replace high-ranking Federation
United Federation of Planets
The United Federation of Planets, also known as "The Federation" is a fictional interplanetary federal republic depicted in the Star Trek television series and motion pictures...

 officials with Romulan agents.

Further reading

  • Araujo, Robert John
    Robert Araujo (Jurist)
    The reverend Robert Araujo, SJ, is the John Courtney Murray Professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Formerly, he was the Robert Bellarmine University Professor in American and Public International Law at Gonzaga University and an Ordinary Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian...

    , “The UN Declaration on Human Cloning: a survey and assessment of the debate,” 7 The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 129 - 149 (2007).

External links