Cloning benefits humanity

Our View

A British scientist was granted a license last week to clone human embryos. At least that’s what the general public sees: clone and human. They tend to overlook a key word: embryos.

According to The Washington Post, the British scientist will use cloned embryos before they are 14 days old. For those of you picturing a cooing infant complete with umbilical cord and rattle, forget it. The embryo is little more than an undifferentiated ball of cells — no semblance of eyes or arms or brain — not yet a human being.

The opposition to human embryo cloning continually argues that life begins upon conception — a true statement in the biological sense — and that killing the ball of cells is killing the potential for human life. The same could be said of a woman’s period. They’re losing potential on a monthly basis. Of course it’s an unfertilized egg, but the embryo isn’t much more complex than the period.

According to an article in Christian Today, the dignity of those potential human beings is being threatened. Well, it isn’t worth sacrificing the dignity of living individuals yearning for a cure, a treatment, for a ball of cells that could be confused for those of a fish or feline.

It’s unfortunate our “high moral ground” will stifle such an exciting, promising procedure. British science has begun to surpass our own heavily regulated system with its desire to help those suffering from motor neuron diseases like Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s.

At Day 14, the embryo consists of stem cells, undifferentiated cells that will eventually turn into the various organs of the body. But because they’re undifferentiated, we can make them turn into whatever cells we want, be them kidney or liver cells for transplants. The organs used aren’t genetically similar enough to our own, so our body attacks and kills them, treating them like invaders. Stem cells will provide us with a near-perfect match.

Ethics have always played a role in our scientific decision-making process. We need to help those who are suffering from debilitating disorders, not help that group of cells without a nervous system.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of two members of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.