Essay on Governmental Regulation Of Cloning

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Governmental Regulation Of Cloning

For years, the prospect of human cloning was fodder for outrageous science-fiction stories and nothing more. However, in more recent times, human cloning has moved significantly closer to becoming a reality. Accordingly, the issue has evoked a number of strong reactions, both praising and condemning the procedure. The fact that human cloning not just affects human lives indirectly but actually involves tinkering with human creation has forced human cloning into a position of controversy. The progress of the issue of human cloning, then, has been shaped not only by the abilities and resources of scientists but by public opinion and by governmental regulation that has resulted from public pressure.
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By 1994, the first publicly announced human cloning experiments had been done. Robert J. Stillman, who headed a research team at the George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C. was responsible for the experiments. The team took seventeen flawed human embryos, which could not have developed into fetuses under any conditions, and successfully split them in October 1994 to produce clones (religioustolerance.org 1). The purpose of the experiment was not really to create viable human clones but to encourage public debate about the issue of human cloning in general (cac.psu.edu 1).

After Stillman's experiment, a panel led by Dr. Steven Muller, was created to formulate some guidelines which the National Institute of Health could use to make research funding decisions (religioustolerance.or g 2). The panel suggested that research should generally be restricted to preexisting embryos which otherwise would have been discarded or frozen (religioustolerance.org 2). Nevertheless, the panel admitted that new embryos might be produced for "compelling research" (cac.psu.edu 2). Research, they concluded, should normally end by the fourteenth day and should not extend past the eighteenth day when the nervous system begins to develop (religioustolerance.org 2). The panel also suggested that certain procedures

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