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Ethics of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research


Ethics of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research. Dr. Pattle Pun, ... Promises of Adult Stem Cell Research ... any research based on embryonic stem cells created ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ethics of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research

Ethics of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research
  • Dr. Pattle Pun,
  • Dept. of Biology, Wheaton College,
  • Wheaton, IL 60187

From Clone to Man
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Technology of cloning
Technique similar to Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm
Injection (ICSI)
Mammalian (Non-human) Reproductive Cloning WHY?
  • Accomplish animal husbandry goals
  • Produce genetically identical animal strains
  • Replicate elite farm livestock
  • Animal conservation
  • To produce transgenic livestock
  • Pharming
  • Xenotransplantation
  • Disease-resistant livestock

Mammalian (Non-human) Reprod. Cloning SUCCESSES
  • Live births reported using adult donor nuclei in
    at least eight mammals
  • Goats
  • Cats
  • Rabbits
  • Gaur (Asian ox)
  • Sheep
  • Mice
  • Cows
  • Pigs

Mammalian (Non-human) Reprod. Cloning SUCCESSES
  • Cleaving embryos (but not live births) reported
    in several other species using donor nuclei from
    fetal or adult cells
  • Dogs
  • Rats
  • Horses
  • Monkeys

Mammalian (Non-human) Reprod. Cloning SUCCESSES
  • Several different transgenic mammals have been
    generated using cloning technique
  • Sheep
  • Mice
  • Cows
  • Pigs
  • Goats
  • Rabbitsnone have been liveborn yet

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Polly and her sisters secrete human factor IX
in their milka drug needed by hemophiliacs
Targeted disruption of a key gene causing tissue
rejection A step closer to xenotransplants?
Developments in Human Cloning
  • Abnormal human embryos cloned by embryo
    splittingHall Stillman, 1993
  • Establishment of human ES cell lines first
    reported in 1998 from
  • BlastocystsThomson et al.
  • Germinal tissues of fetusesShamblott, et al.

Developments in Human Cloning
  • Several groups are trying to isolate ES cells
    from cloned human embryos
  • Advanced Cell TechnologyCibelli et al., 2001.
  • Roger Pedersenformerly of UCSF
  • Lu Guangxiu (China)isolated ES cells from human
  • Several groups are reportedly trying to produce
    children from adult nuclear donors

Dr. Severino Antinori and Dr. Panos Zavos
Dr. Brigitte Boisselier with Rael
  • A human clone has no genetic contribution from
    the mother. If an infertile couple uses human
    cloning to obtain offspring, they will use the
    nucleus of the somatic cells of the husband for
    implantation into the enucleated egg of the
    mother. The resulting clone will always be a male
    who possesses only the characteristics of the

  • In 2001, a few fertility researchers in the
    United States and in Italy have begun
    experimenting on human cloning. Many infertile
    couples have already volunteered their sex cells
    for these experiments. These scientists claim
    that they will have successful results in two
    years and predicted that the expenses of human
    cloning will be comparable to artificial

  • When the somatic cells from an adult individual
    are cultivated in the laboratory, they will only
    divide and develop into the same kind of somatic
    cells. However, when stem cells derived from
    human embryo are established as cell lines that
    can perpetually divide in the laboratory, they
    can develop into various kinds of human tissues.

  • These totipotent characteristics of the human
    stem cells are most promising for medical
    research since these cells can be exploited to
    become potential sources of human transplants to
    replace damaged tissues in many incurable

Technology of Stem Cell Research
  • Potential benefits of human cloning and stem cell

  • One in 6 couples in developed countries on the
    average is infertile due to genetic or
    environmental causes. Artificial insemination and
    human cloning are amongst the techniques that can
    help these infertile couples to conceive and
    fulfill their desires for procreation.

  • In an animal study, Dr. McKay and his
    colleagues Lorenz Studer, M.D., and Viviane
    Tabar, M.D., took neural stem cells from the
    brains of rat embryos and grew them in culture
    dishes with a protein called basic fibroblast
    growth factor that helps the cells survive and
    divide. After the cells multiplied for 6 to 8
    days, the growth factor was removed and the cells
    were allowed to aggregate into free-floating
    spheres of neurons. The neurons in the spheres
    began to develop functioning connections with
    each other, producing dopamine as well as several
    other kinds of neurotransmitters. When the
    spheres were injected into the brains of rats
    that were missing the dopamine-producing region
    on one side of their brains, the rats
    Parkinsonian symptoms gradually diminished. Most
    showed about a 75 percent improvement in motor
    function 80 days after they received the

  • Stem cells can be one of the sources for human
    transplants. For example, scientists have
    successfully cultivated nerve cells that secret
    dopamine, a neurotransmitter, from embryonic stem
    cells. These cells are transplanted into the
    bodies of patients suffering from Parkinsons
    disease in whom the defective nervous system
    lacks dopamine. Their bodies then acquired the
    ability to secret dopamine and they are cured.
    Despite opposing results and side effects that
    are yet to be totally understood and controlled,
    embryonic stem cells seem to also pose promises
    for other incurable diseases such as diabetes.

  • Medical and Ethical Challenges

  • There are web sites offering human sex cells for
    sale. Sperms of Nobel laureates and eggs of
    beautiful models or female students of
    prestigious institutions of higher learning are
    collected and sold to the highest bidders

  • Molecular biologist Professor Lee Silver of
    Princeton University predicted that the 21st
    century will divide human societies into two
    groups according the cloning technology
  • The GeneRich
  • those who are able and/or willing to clone
  • The Naturals
  • those that are unable and/or unwilling to
    clone themselves

  • A brave new world envisioned by the eugenic
    movement will become a reality. Unscrupulous
    entrepreneurs and aggressive politicians will use
    reproductive technologies such as human cloning
    and genetic manipulation to control human
    populations and monopolize market economy. The
    net effect may be the polarization of the rich
    and the poor, the haves and the have-nots.
    Totalitarian regimes can exploit the eugenic
    movement to eliminate the unfit of human

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  • Are human clones really human?

  • When Dolly was born, she was not an infant sheep
    since she carries the genetic material of the
    nuclear donor. Adult body cells are known to
    gradually lose their telomers (the end sequences
    in the linear chromosomes of most eukaryotic
    cells) because of the lack of telomerase, an
    enzyme found in tumor or embryonic cells which
    can lengthen the telomers during cell division.

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  • As a result, the life expectancy of Dolly is
    shorter than a newborn sheep. In addition, Dolly
    has obesity problem. At 6, she was given a lethal
    injection after veterinarians discovered she had
    lung cancer. Normal life span of sheep is 12
    years. These symptoms that are associated
    with premature aging are also
  • found in other cloned
  • animals.

Wilmut listed defects occurring regularly in
other cloned animals, including gigantism
(excessive size) in cloned sheep and cattle
placentas of up to four times the normal size in
mice and heart defects in pigs. Despite being
given normal amounts of food, many cloned mice
also become grotesquely fat, while many cloned
cows, sheep and pigs have developmental
difficulties, lung problems and malfunctioning
immune systems. Cloned animals have also shown
a variety of individual defects. A calf cloned in
France appeared to be thriving but suddenly died
at 51 days old after a failure in its ability to
produce white blood cells. Similarly, scientists
at Roslin had to put down a cloned lamb at 12
days old because the muscles around its lungs
were so abnormally thick that it could hardly
  • Moreover, the success rate of cloned animals is
    extremely low. Dolly was born after 277
    unsuccessful trials. It will be a horrendous
    waste of human embryos if similar experiments are
    carried out in the attempts to clone humans when
    more than 99 of them are destroyed.

  • Human clones are not only facing health problems,
    they are also faced with psychological pressures.
    He/She always lives under the shadow of his/her
    nuclear donors and will not have the normal self
    image developed in the traditional nuclear family
    with biological parents.

  • Embryonic stems cells can be developed from
    discarded fertilized eggs in fertility clinics,
    aborted or miscarried fetuses. Whenever a human
    fetus is cultivated in the laboratory to develop
    into stem cells, it is no longer viable as a
    human fetus. In other words, the embryo is

  • In what stage of embryonic development is the
    fertilized egg accorded the status of a human
    being who is entitled to human right protection?

  • In the context of human transplants, should we
    sacrifice one life in order to save another life?

  • In fact, recent successes with adult stem cells
    make them a non-controversial and promising
    alternative to embryonic stem cells. These
    rapidly dividing adult cells, such as cells
    derived from bone marrow, placenta, cord blood,
    are also capable of developing into totipotent
    cells. They can also pose promises as potential
    source of human transplants.

Promises of Adult Stem Cell Research
Cells isolated from murine skeletal muscle have a
remarkable capacity for hematopoietic
Hematopoietic potential of stem cells isolated
from murine skeletal muscle Kathyjo Ann Jackson,
Tiejuan Mi, and Margaret A. Goode Proc Natl Acad
Sci U S A. 1999 December 7 96(25) 1448214486 -
Embryonic Stem Cells, Cloning, Are Not
Necessarily Path To Cure
  • 1. Embryonic stem cells have produced
    disappointing results for juvenile diabetes
  • Because of the difficulty of getting ESCs to
    differentiate into desired tissues, the risk of
    tumor formation, the genetic instability of ESCs
    in culture, and other problems, ESCs cannot be
    expected to provide treatments for juvenile
    diabetes anytime soon.
  • S. Sipione et al., Insulin expressing
    cells from differentiated embryonic stem cells
    are not beta cells, 47 Diabetologia 499-508

Embryonic Stem Cells, Cloning, Are Not
Necessarily Path To Cure
  • 2. ADULT islet cells have reversed juvenile
    diabetes in hundreds of patients in clinical
  • of the 250 patients who have received the
    newest version of the transplant, more than 80
    percent have been free from insulin shots or
    insulin pumps for more than a year .
  • D. Wahlberg, New islet cells put into
    liver, The Atlanta Journal- Constitution, June
    1, 2003, at

Embryonic Stem Cells, Cloning, Are Not
Necessarily Path To Cure
  • 3. Problems of supply and tissue rejection in the
    Edmonton protocol are being addressed.
  • NIH researchers have shown that a prior
    transplant of adult bone marrow stem cells can
    prevent rejection of islet cell transplants in
    mice, without use of anti-rejection drugs
  • News Release, American Society of
    Hematology, Researchers Look to Stem Cell
    Therapy and Bone Marrow Transplants to Find a
    Cure for Diabetes, December 8, 2003, at

Embryonic Stem Cells, Cloning, Are Not
Necessarily Path To Cure
  • 4. ADULT stem cells are advancing to create
    entirely new therapies for juvenile diabetes.
  • Researchers in Canada have shown that
    transplanted adult stem cells from bone marrow
    can cause pancreatic tissue to repair itself,
    restoring normal insulin production and reversing
    symptoms of diabetes. 
  • Transplanted Bone Marrow Stem Cells
    Reverse Diabetes in Mice, JDRF Countdown, Fall
    2003, p. 6. See D. Hess et al., Bone
    marrow-derived stem cells initiate pancreatic
    regeneration, 21 Nature Biotechnology 763-70

Embryonic Stem Cells, Cloning, Are Not
Necessarily Path To Cure
  • 5. Therapeutic Cloning is Useless in Treating
    Juvenile Diabetes
  • …autoimmune diseases, including type 1
    diabetes.  In such cases transfer of
    immunologically identical cells to a patient is
    expected to induce the same rejection .
  • I. Wilmut, Human cells from cloned
    embryos in research and therapy, 328 British
    Medical Journal 415-6 (2004)

  • The United States House of Representatives have
    voted to ban research on human cloning
  • The President of the United States has also
    recently decided that federal support will not be
    available to support any research based on
    embryonic stem cells created after August 9,

  • Guidelines according to Ethical Principles
  • (J. F. Kilner)

(1) Principle of Utility
  • 1. Unjust allocation of limited medical resources
  • 2. Genetically engineering people (without their
    consent) only for the benefit of others.

(2) Principle of Autonomy
  • 1. Great Risk to the Clones life.
  • 2. Conflict with the Autonomy of the Clones.

(3) Principle of Human Dignity, Being Human per
  • 1. Comprehensiveness Applies to All humans?
  • 2. Consistency Things of Value?
  • 3. Credibility Reducible to one or more

  • Guidelines according to the Scriptures

  • After the first human couple sinned, the human
    race has been subject to death, disease and pain
    (Gen. 3). The paradox of a loving Creator
    allowing human suffering is only resolved in the
    Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection of our
    Lord Jesus Christ.

  • (A) The purpose of human life is for the glory
    of God. God created us for His glory.(Is. 437).

  • While eliminating human suffering is a noble
    cause, there may be a higher purpose for some
    incurable diseases after all human efforts are
    exhausted, as Paul has experienced from the thorn
    in his flesh. (II Cor. 127-9) Jesus did not
    confront the origins of congenital diseases. Yet
    He made it clear that the ultimate purpose of the
    healing of the man blind from birth was that the
    works of God might be displayed in him (Jn.

  • Infertile couples should not pursue human cloning
    that risks the destruction of potential lives or
    creating defective human embryos in their
    attempts to have biological offspring. This is
    exactly the reason used by the mainstream
    scientific establishment to oppose
    experimentation on human cloning. Infertile
    couples should explore other avenues of having
    children such as adoption of unwanted children.

  • (B) Human Being, Created in the Image of God,
    Became a Living Being by the Direct Involvement
    of God.

  • Humans were created in the Image of God. (Gen. 1
    26-27). Gods act of the breathing into the
    nostrils of man the breath of life to make him a
    living being (Gen. 27) strongly suggests a
    direct involvement of God in mans life. After
    the creation of the first couple, the capability
    for procreation or the potentials of the human
    gene pool that generated the entire human race is
    also divinely endowed. (Gen. 128, 2 24).

  • The Scriptures emphasize children are the
    inheritance given by God (Ps. 1273). Invitro
    fertilization using the sex cells of an infertile
    couple and implantation of these artificially
    inseminated embryos into the wifes uterus has
    been successfully carried out. These children can
    be a gift of God made possible by good
    stewardship on the parts of scientists who
    develop these technologies.

  • However, if the sole purpose of artificial
    insemination is to create human embryos for
    experiments in human cloning, then the line of
    violation of human rights may have been crossed.
    Human clones are products of asexual reproduction
    which lacks the normal process of genetic
    recombination during meiosis characteristic of
    sexual reproduction that gives rise to variations
    amongst the offspring of a couple. In addition,
    human clones will have shorter life spans. Even
    though the technology of human cloning can be
    improved, the human clones will live in the
    perpetuate shadow of identity crisis. They will
    always be second-class citizens. Humans are
    always an end in themselves, never a means.

  • Establishment of Scriptural principles that will
    safeguard human dignity and prevent abuse of
    human rights for reproductive technologies.