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Should human cloning be legal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,512 times Debate No: 36296
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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I believe that human cloning should be legal for multiple reasons.


We are already remarkably effective at creating more people through natural reproductive means without resorting to cloning. One might want to use cloning to grow genetically suitable organs for transplanting, but growing people as organ supplies? That is as immoral as killing someone to steal their kidneys. Besides, what if the cloning process goes wrong, and one creates a severely handicapped person .. then whose responsibility to care for that person during their life? I doubt the cloner would want to take on that responsibility even if it is clearly his / her actions which created the problem and should be his / her responsibility to support that person. Finally, epigenetic research is showing that the basic DNA package we are born with is only partly responsible for what and who we eventually become; DNA expression can vary significantly (genes get turned on / off at different times). In short, there is no guarantee a cloned individual will be any more than phenotypically similar to, not identical to the cell donor .. so what is the point?
Debate Round No. 1


To start I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge. And I would also like to say that humans are FAR from being "remarkably effective" at creating humans. Even the most basic malfunction in the human genome can cause severe complications, just the slightest gene malfunction can cause depression, ocd, schizophrenia, downs syndrome etc., the list is endless. Literally, it is endless. Here's just a minuscule part of the list showing how imperfect humans how at creating other humans, even the most tiny malfunction in genetic coding can have severe complications.
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As you can see by the tiny sections I have cut out of a seemingly endless list of genetic malfunctions, humans are far from "remarkably effective" at creating perfect humans. But this can be solved by simple observation of a cloned human being, which brings me to Point #2.

Point #2: You falsely claim that I would support the killing of such a revolutionary invention, to the contrary, the results of the cloning process are much more valuable alive than dead. If we observe the process at which the cells produce we can easily find methods of preventing, stopping, and detecting any form of cancer before it even develops. But cancer is just the beginning, with human cloning you could theoretically under observation detect anything within the cloned body, fixing the flaws before they occur (such as diabetes). But it wouldn't just be stopping one flaw, with simple observation and cell manipulation you could stop ANY genetic disease before it occurs. But how can we ensure how the cloned structure will actually be a clone? Well that brings me up to my third point.

Point #3: You ask how we can ensure that the clone will be identical to the donor? Simple, it's already been done, during the height of the cold war soviet scientists successfully cloned a human being with the most simple technology of the time, and the two subjects were identical. Extracting and copying DNA is not rocket science. As a matter of fact creating carbon copies of DNA are easier than ever. We clone sheep all the time and they are identical, we even create identical organs. And humans are just organ structures, so if we can clone one organ, we can clone all the organs.

Here is just part of a list of animals that have been successfully cloned:

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So to conclude, if animals share the same structure as humans and they are cloned quite frequently, on top of the fact that a human has already been cloned, I think it would be safe to say that cloning is effective not only in the procedure itself, but effective in ensuring that people from all walks of life and family background live a long, healthy life.


First paragraph .. there are now 7B people in the world, with an estimated total of 108B having been born since humans first appeared. At least in my books, that is pretty effective reproduction, enough such that family planning is a growth industry in many parts of the world. You're right about genome malfunctions potentially causing problems, but for most of these, I don't see how cloning would guarantee they wouldn't happen. Cloning may prevent Downs, Tay Sachs or PKU but at least, Tay Sachs and PKU can be reduced or prevented by those carrying the defective gene being careful who they make babies with, which is likely also a lot easier than cloning. Also, if one of identical twins has schizophrenia, there is something like a 48% chance (not 100%) the other will also have it, which indicates it is NOT entirely a genetic disease - which cloning would therefore not necessarily prevent. I suggest you read up on epigenetics (many articles in Scientific American), which show that how we turn out is a combination of nature, nurture, and epigenetics and cloning won't change that.

Sorry, your hyperlinks are truncated and don't work; I cannot view them.

Point 2 - I don't understand your point; I haven't claimed any such thing. In any case .. I don't know if you are a parent, but I am both a parent and grandparent. The idea of my children or grandchildren volunteering tissue donations if I were ill is one thing and I would be grateful for it ... but the idea of my deliberately cloning myself so that I can have children in *order* for them to be tissue donors is quite another; it reduces them from children brought into this world through love, into spare parts, something I would / could never do; that is not why we have children. Regrets, but the rest of that paragraph sounds somewhat fanciful and I cannot address it.

Point 3 - the best way to address this is to point out that identical twins are not, in fact, identical. Sure, they come from eggs that split, but that is apparently the last time the genomes are identical and then epigenetics takes over, causing slight, subtle but significant changes in how the DNA functions. There are Discover and Scientific American articles on that, too. Cloning DNA might be easy but that is only part of it - because that DNA does not function identically in the organisms that results. If you read up on identical twin studies, you will find that typically, if one twin showing some characteristic, the other has an elevated chance of showing that same characteristic but it is seldom, if ever, a 100% probability (unless we were looking at specifically genetic conditions such as Downs or PKU). That is, again, because they are not identical. Also .. what's this about the Russians cloning humans? First I'd heard of that ... and I do read quite a lot.

Re cloning animals .. a reference on Dolly the Sheep said that "Making cloned mammals is highly inefficient (Dolly was the only lamb that survived to adulthood from 277 attempts) [and] the nuclear transfer technique may never be sufficiently efficient for use in humans. OTOH, most of the women I know have to try very hard to avoid getting pregnant. Why would we do this the hard way?

If you ever have a chance to watch "Multiplicity" with Michael Keaton on Netflix (the film was made in 1996), the premise is that he clones himself and then each clone subsequently makes a clone of themselves. But each clone is very slightly different because of errors in the process, with the result that each one exhibits very different behaviour. Even if cloning were perfect, epigenetics would tend to make something like this happen.
Debate Round No. 2


Here are the links to the pics I tried to post-

First off I'd like to point out your first point out that you listed two genetic disorders that would be prevented by "watching out who you have babies with." These are two disorders out of the 1,000+ genetic disorders that I posted on my link. And I am not saying cloning will just prevent 1 or 2 disorders like you are claiming, I clearly stated that it would prevent every disorder.Holding a degree in Bio-engineering I can assure you that cloning is nothing like identicle twins. Sure it may hold some similarities, but it is a COMPLETELY different process. Cloning a human being (or any animal for that matter, which are usually 100% succsessful, as was the first cloned human.) uses different cells to stimulate the nucleus. What you are talking about is identicle twins, which is a different subject than adult cloning. With cloning you can pin-point the genetic defects of the host and stop them in the twin, thus creating a baby that is completely free of genetic disease. Using data collected in the clones DNA we can prevent diseases of other babies. Imagine a world free of genetic disease. I suggest you read up on Genetic Engineering (also many articles in Scientific American) or I could give you the number of a harvard professor that would be happy to explain to you the process as I was lectured.

Point #2: You're Fixated on cloning for organ donating.You seem to completely misread what I was stating, I'm referring to the usage of cloning for genetic purposes only. Putting it simply, I mean as in studying the DNA within the cells and stopping the genetic disease before it happens. So that EVERYONE will have happy, healthy babies. I never said once the cloning of a FULL human being just solely for organ donation. I am referring to the study of genetic engineering and mapping of the DNA. I'm not saying mass produce humans, I'm saying isolated cloning to study and stop virtually every genetic deficiency and disorder. Plus the newborn babies could easily be givin family's who are sterile. That way you can ensure that the baby is not only free of genetic disorder (which includes by is surely not limited to cancer, type 2 diabetes, and 1,000+ other conditions) but the studies would be used to stop 1,000+ birth defects for EVERY baby. So the need for organ donors for genetic conditions would be non-existent.

Point #3: Let me start by quoting you "identical twins are not, in fact, identical". You just completely agreed with me. Cloning is not like forming an identical twin. Cloning is a different process and you even repeatedly admit that it is. Cloning is the process of seperating genes and forming a copy of the gene being tested upon. What I was saying is forming a complete copy of a human. Twins have different sets of finger prints because they are not copies of eachother. You are comparing cloning and twin birth like they are one in the same, they are not even close to being one in the same. Also the organisms should function just fine if DNA is copied correctly. Animals are cloned all the time, which brings me to my final point.

Point #4: You mention Dolly the Sheep, which by the way was a successfully cloned animal. The only reason it took so many tries to complete the cloning was because it was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. The sky is the limit for cloning, not every clone is the same or produced using the same method of cloning. Dolly was the first mammel to be cloned in that method of cloning. There are multiple methods of cloning, here are a few examples of the seemingly ENDLESS list of successfully cloned animals (that were cloned by various companies or universities).

"Embryologist Tong Dizhou successfully inserted the DNA from a male Asian carp into the egg of a female Asian carp to create the first fish clone in 1963. In 1973 Dizhou inserted Asian carp DNA into a European crucian carp to create the first interspecies clone.

In December 2001, scientists at Texas A&M University created the first cloned cat, CC (CopyCat).Even though CC is an exact copy of his host, they have different personalities; i.e. CC is shy and timid, his host on the other hand is playful and curious.

In 2004, the first commercially cloned cat, Little Nicky, was created by Genetic Savings & Clone.

First World cloned calf (Gene) was born on February 7, 1997 on American Breeders Service facilities in Deforest, Wisconsin. Later it was transferred and kept at the Minnesota Zoo Education Center.

Second Cloned calf was born in 1998; see reference: Cloned transgenic calves produced from nonquiescent fetal fibroblasts. Cibelli JB, Stice SL, Golueke PJ, Kane JJ, Jerry J, Blackwell C, Ponce de León FA, Robl JM. Science. 1998 May 22;280(5367):1256-8.

A Holstein heifer named "Daisy" was cloned by Dr. Xiangzhong (Jerry) Yang using ear skin cells from a high-merit cow named Aspen at the University of Connecticut on June 10, 1999, followed by three additional clones, Amy, Betty, and Cathy by July 7, 1999.

Second Chance, a Brahman bull was cloned from Chance, a beloved celebrity bull. Second Chance was born August 9, 1999 at Texas A&M University.

Texas A&M University cloned a Black Angus bull named 86 Squared in 2000, after cells from his donor, Bull 86, had been frozen for 15 years. Both bulls exhibit a natural resistance to Brucellosis, Tuberculosis and other diseases which can be transferred in meat.

A purebred Hereford calf clone named Chloe was born March 28, 2001 at Kansas State University's purebred research unit. This was Kansas State's first cloned calf.

Millie and Emma were two female Jersey cows cloned at the University of Tennessee in 2001. They were the first cows to be produced using standard cell-culturing techniques.

Ten more Jersey cows were cloned at the University of Tennessee. (females, 2002)

In 2010 the first Spanish Fighting Bull was cloned by Spanish scientists.—see also Got (bull) (2009).

Anatolian Grey bull (Efe) was cloned in Turkey in 2009 and cattle from the same breed no(Ece, Ecem, Nilufer, Kiraz) by TÜBİTAK

Samrupa: World's first buffalo calf through the "Hand guided cloning technique" was born on February 6, 2009 at NDRI, Karnal (India). This calf succumbed to a lung infection 5 days after it was born.

GARIMA- I: Buffalo calf cloned through the “Advanced Hand guided Cloning Technique” was born on June 6, 2009 at NDRI, Karnal (India). 2 years later in 2011, this calf died of a heart failure.

GARIMA- II: Born on August 22, 2010. This cloned calf gave birth to a female calf,
Mahima on January 25, 2013. Garima - II was inseminated with frozen-thawed semen
of a progeny tested bull. NDRI, Karnal (India).Cloned male buffalo calf Shresth born on
August 26, 2010 at National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India"

And this is just a miniscule part of a seemingly endless list of succsessfully cloned animals.
Speaking of miniscule, If I recall the film "miniscule" was a comedy correct? If a clone were to clone itself, theoretically if done succsessfully there would be no complications. It would be a direct copy of something that is already a direct copy.So it wouldn't be wise to listen to everything hollywood tells you. Saying the comedy movie "miniscule" is a valid source of scientific information would be like saying "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" is a valid source of scientific information as well.

To conclude, as we learn more of the cloning process we can use this information to not only stop many forms of cancer and 1,000+ genetic diseases, but use this to ensure that all natural babies grow up to not have to worry about the burden of genetic disease. Thank you.



I believe we have both been off topic. The question posed was " Should human cloning be legal?" and neither of us has addressed that point; we have only discussed whether cloning can work. However, in my first response, I did state " what if the cloning process goes wrong, and one creates a severely handicapped person .. then whose responsibility [is it] to care for that person during their life?" That was never discussed, and it is critical that we do. If we were talking about a calf, a bull, a sheep, there isn't really much debate - they are either put down, put out to pasture, or eaten but we do not and should not have those options with humans.

I have never heard nor can I imagine any scientist or funding agency offering to take financial responsibility for taking care of the "cloning errors", the broken humans that might survive. We *know* that if something didn't turn out right - for whatever reason - someone will be in court over it, seeking a financial settlement. Would *you* be willing to accept such a responsibility, especially when there were alternatives? I certainly wouldn't. At least, a miscarriage is a natural means of Nature dealing with an embryo that has some critical problem, thus saving the parents the difficulty of making that decision. But if the cloning doesn't work perfectly or as expected, we don't have options to deal with the consequences as we would a farm animal.

I'm glad to hear that cloning has been so successful in the agricultural world, and that it has advanced as far as it has. But so long as we don"t have the finances or the will to deal with the mistakes that will inevitably happen there should be no legal endorsement of cloning for humans.
Debate Round No. 3


I haven't gotten off topic whatsoever, I was defending the fact that it should be legal and stated multiple success stories of how effective it could be. The financial burden would be of course on the provider to the cloning process and it's sponsors.

And if cloning could be studied like any other science and perfected, then we should have no problem whatsoever to see any reason of keeping it illegal. I have given multiple reasons for it's reasoning behind why it should be legalized. Some of the reasons I gave were the fact that it could stop cancer before it became detected, or that it has an extremely high success rate amongst animals.

Your reasoning was that "it didn't work in the movie 'minuscule'" which clearly is not backed up by any fact or reason. It's a movie, and not just a movie, but a comedy movie. So using fictional works as sources only proves that your claim is fiction. Just putting aside the science for a second, when you create a copy and then copy the copy, you still have the exact same result.

So to conclude, if cloning were to be made legal not only would it stop virtually every genetic disease, but it would revolutionize modern medicine and learning how the human psyche works. When perfected in nearly every form (which in animals it already has), the amount of possibilities are endless. So I ask not only the voters of this debate but voters of the world to support it. This science is harmless to not only the donator but the subject as well, and will continue to improve safety features once perfected. Also the amount of medical bills and taxes that will be saved. But let us not just consider the financial aspect. Think about never having to see another child suffer from type 2 diabetes or hereditary cancer (which would also help us indicate what cancers are not hereditary and put a stop to them). Think not only of the money and kids you will be saving, but think about the future of technology and the future of America. Thank you.


TheDon22, you are moving far too fast, trying to implement legal cloning when there are vast areas we still don't understand. In getting that data, we can experiment with farm animals but we can't do this with people.

" .. multiple success stories of how effective it could be" isn't the same as "multiple success stories of how effective it is". There have been innumerable studies showing potential benefits of different treatments that have been found to be potentially effective on mice. Humans aren't mice, and I've also read articles indicating that extrapolating from mice to humans has not always been successful; you don't necessarily get the same results. Consequently, " .. multiple success stories of how effective it could be" is a very weak foundation on which to legalize a procedure with, as I see it, a lot more questions than answers. Secondly, ever heard the phrase, "profits are privatized, losses are socialized"? That is the usual way the financial game is played .. and if you have reservations about the accuracy of that, look at the 2008 economic meltdown followed by taxpayer bailouts to Wall Street, followed by bigger profits than ever for Wall Street while houses are still being foreclosed. It happens in other areas too .. companies producing pollution have typically kept the profits but usually manage to avoid being held accountable for the long term costs of their pollution. So I have close to zero confidence that we can count on the cloning process providers and its sponsors carrying that financial burden. Check out articles on Thalidomide, or Ghopal, India, or the Exxon Valdez for examples. There is no way the companies involved here ever have, nor ever will cover the true cost of their mistakes.

The movie was "Multiplicity", not "Miniscule". Yes, I'm very much aware it was just a comedy and not a science program; rather, it was just a humorous discussion of what might happen when we get too carried away with our own cleverness. If you want more serious examples of how our cleverness leads us into presumptuousness and from there, gets us into serious trouble, think DDT ("Silent Spring" and all that), nuclear power, bee population die-off, draining marshes (so that now hurricanes can reach far inland), damming rivers (there go the anadromous fish runs), introducing Giant Hogweed as a decorative plant - than having it go wild and invasive. And, of course, the probability that humans have a hand in our global climate change which we still don't completely understand.

Re "... when you create a copy and then copy the copy, you still have the exact same result" - No, you do not. In theory, the digital data on computer disks should invariably copy perfectly but sometimes they don't; I always have my disk burning program check the integrity of my copies and occasionally have to toss one. To assume it will work perfectly every time and base someone's life on that assumption is a mistake.

Re "And if cloning could be studied like any other science and perfected ..." I didn't say it shouldn't be studied, I just said it shouldn't be legal to the point that it can be routinely used on humans today. There is no hurry; let's ensure we thoroughly understand the science and all its implications before we take a step that is difficult to reverse. Go slow. I am also concerned about the number of researchers who are ethically challenged, and would use this technology for personal gain or without proper safeguards. For example, the Medical Board of California justifiably revoked Dr. Michael Kamrava's license; he was the fertility doctor who helped "Octomom" become the mother of 14 children. Let's not make it easy for these guys.

I am still confused as to how you conclude that cloning can be used to prevent type 2 diabetes, hereditary cancer or other genetic problems. If you were talking about using viruses to introduce properly functioning genes to an existing embryo, or even a person already born whose defective genes predispose them to these problems, I could see how it might work. But it sounds more like you are trying to establish some sort of "super-embryo", free of any genetic problems and I have a problem with that. Firstly, quite bluntly, experimenting on humans like this smacks of a Joseph Mengele approach. Ethically, we cannot do this kind of experimentation except perhaps in the event of someone who already has a life threatening disease such as melanoma and is prepared to try anything rather than face certain death. I know, restricting experimentation to critical cases slows down the advance of medical science but it is consistent with one of the principal precepts of medical ethics, "first, do no harm". Also, I have some problems with your conclusions on genetically related cancers because not all are genetic in origin; there is increasing data available suggesting that a great many cancers are caused by viruses, not genetics. Check out "Catching Cancer" by Claudia Cornwall in which she discusses this research. Her findings weren't speculation on her part; she extensively interviewed active researchers in this area before publishing her book.

Biologically, one of our greatest strengths as a species is our genetic variability. Ironically, it is also one of our greatest weaknesses .. and any step taken to reduce our variability may unwittingly put some of us at some genetic risk, possibly for losing resistance to some problem we don't see every day. For example, specific blood types are thought to be linked with increased or decreased susceptibility to particular diseases such as malaria, plague, cholera or smallpox - so vulnerability to plague might be considered a risk factor (bad) unless that individual is less susceptible to smallpox (good). But depending where plague and smallpox are endemic, what is a weakness in one area may be a strength in another.

Or what if we conclude that sickle cell anemia is a condition we wish to eliminate? Potentially, we could .. but if there were to be a surge of malaria (a real possibility, with climate change), we also inadvertently put many Africans at risk because they lose their resistance. For that matter, Caucausians are already at risk for malaria because they tend not to have this genetic "flaw". Are we astute enough to avoid making a mistake like that with cloning? I'd like to think so, but I've seen enough in my life that I wouldn't bet on it and don't want to rush into assuming we know exactly how this all works and making something legal, particularly when there are serious risks in doing so.

Thank you, TheDon22; interesting discussion. BTW, are you TheDon22 in Mt.Shasta, California? If so, we were just through there a short time ago. I'm wlsnde at Telus dot com.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MysticEgg 5 years ago
I think humans are remarkably effective. It's true that a slight problem *can* cause severe problems but look at all of the people who are not handicapped. That's 82% of over 7,000,000,000 people. Billions.
Posted by thedon22 5 years ago
Apologies my pictures didn't turn out. I will post them in the next argument.
Posted by Oromagi 5 years ago
This is an interesting subject and I'd enjoy a debate. I am opposed to complete human cloning, at least until many social and political points have been discussed and decided to my satisfaction. I have no generic objection to cloning human cells, therapeutic cloning, even reproducing body parts such as replacement kidneys or limbs. If you are willing to debate pro-cloning of whole humans in the near term, lets say 20 years, then I will accept
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