Cloning is the process of producing genetically identical individuals of an organism either naturally or artificially. Cloning in biotechnology refers to the process of creating clones of organisms or copies of cells or DNA fragments. The first breakthrough of cloning occurred in the 1990s when Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned. At the start of cloning’s history, it was seen as a profound achievement in biology, however, it has now become a sensitive topic. Despite there being immense controversy over cloning and whether it’s advantageous or disadvantageous, the benefits that arise from cloning are prominent.
The texts BD 11 1 86 and Never Let Me Go, both associate cloning with utility and portray the health benefits of cloning through the processes of organ and full body donation. There is a plethora of benefits associated with human cloning; some of these benefits include the elimination of defective genes, aiding in faster recovery, and the elimination of infertility. To explain further, there is fear that genetic illnesses will be a major problem in the future because of the continual reproduction of humans. This continuous reproduction allows more room for an increase in damage to DNA, which in return, creates defective and mutant genes.
Additionally, cloning peoples’ cells can expedite recovery time and allow for true healing to occur, rather than risking the event of never returning to the original state. The use of cloning can also be used for infertile couples who want to make a family but simply can’t naturally. They can make younger clones of themselves and experience the happiness of having their own families without going through painful procedures that are used today to treat infertility.
Lastly, cloning is an innovative way to produce benefits for the world; not only with the use of cloning plants and animals, but also with the use of cloning humans for the benefit of those who are living. This is exemplified in BD 11 1 86, when the Doctors are explaining Danny’s position. It was told that the client who was paying for Danny’s body either was, “an old fart who claims to feel eighteen ‘in his heart.’ Or he’s terminally ill in his worn-out crap body. Or he’s just turned fifty, megamillionaire getting paunchy, slow reflexes, losing his hair and his wind, can’t depend on his dick”. Danny’s 18-year old body was in prime condition; “Lean and hard-muscled, but no steroids, no body-building, just the classic American-boy body”. Danny and clones were created by Biotechnic for this exact reason; for people who are losing optimal bodily functions. The benefits that humans reap from clones make biotechnology seem very enticing to society, when only looking at the positives.
Additionally, Danny felt genuinely happy that somebody has needed him his whole life and that he truly isn’t just the “average” guy he thought himself to be; “He [Danny] smiled to think that a plan, a purpose, had always been in place”. In Never Let Me Go, the purpose of the boarding school Hailsham, is to convince the public that clones are, in fact, human.
The novel is surrounded around the narrator’s (Kathy) life and is divided into three parts; “Childhood” being considerably different from “The Cottages” and “Donor”. Kathy starts out with being a free-spirited and passionate child, but as she becomes older, she turns into an almost “emotionless” character that has a calm and collected demeanor. The reason she becomes this way is that as she is maturing, she is accepting and understanding the fact that her fate is to be an organ donor for “real” people. Towards the end of the novel, as Kathy’s best friends are going through completion, Kathy describes the experience in a peaceful and calm manner. Due to the emotionless reactions given by Kathy, we tend to see clones in general as “soulless”, and this is what helps humans put a divide between us and them. Therefore, humans rationalized cloning as morally acceptable; because clones are “soulless”.
Never Let Me Go also contains a scene where Kathy and her friend Tommy, go visit one of the people in charge of Hailsham, Madame. Upon arrival, Madame explains her viewpoint of cloning; “when I watched you [Kathy] dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses”. Despite Madame also recognizing the fact of the ethical problems that come about from cloning, she sees more so, the overall beneficial impact on society from cloning. Kathy and Tommy understand this fact, and both accept what they are destined to do. Although there was remorse involved in the creation of Hailsham and these clones, overall Madame believed this was the most utilitarian thing to do; it produces the greatest good for society. Kathy and Tommy also see that their fate is synonymous with utilitarianism and don’t fight it. The reason they are upset during this scene is because they aren’t allowed to prolong their fate in order to experience their relationship further.
Both BD 11 1 86 and Never Let Me Go exemplify how the benefits of cloning outweigh the negative outlook that society holds. Clones donating their organs in Never Let Me Go, and their bodies in BD 11 1 86 to save “real” people from disease or irregulated/ improper bodily functions, is beyond beneficial. Both of these novels set the stage to show the clones’ acknowledgment and acceptance of their fate, which consequently, gives a moral and ethical rebuttal to the unethical outlook society has on cloning.
Cloning can help change the medical advances of the future and provide society with an innovative and progressive way to enhance improvement. Creating repair mechanisms to treat medical tragedies, eliminating viral epidemics like AIDS or HIV, allowing for the prevention/ treatment of disease, and even creating the possibility to save endangered species are just some of the few beneficial factors that can come about from biotechnology.
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