The Instigator
believer_720
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
GaryBacon
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

The Cloning of Plants and Animals Will Be Benefical.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,648 times Debate No: 3065
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (11)

 

believer_720

Pro

It's true, the benefits of cloning do outweigh the risks. Before you accept my challenge, please know that human cloning does not play a role in this debate. This debate is about the cloning of plants and animals alone. Now, for my starting arguments.

-Studies have shown that pigs have organs that are very similar in structure to the organs of humans, and have concluded that they can be used for organ transplants. With over 180,000 people world wide waiting for an organ transplant, why not clone pigs for their organs?

-I understand the success rate is low, but that's just science. When Edison invented the light bulb, the success rate was low, as well. The process can only improve from here.

-Plants do not have feelings, nervous systems, or anything that would make it unethical to clone plants. Fruit-bearing plants can be cloned for food. Cloning pine trees can help slow, or even reverse deforestation.

I'll keep my argument short for now, and let my opponent respond.

Best of luck, and I await your response.
GaryBacon

Con

You start of by stating " It's true, the benefits of cloning do outweigh the risks." This is not substantiated by anything. I actually believe the reverse to be true. There are many risks involved in cloning.

You start by mentioning that there is a similarity between the anatomy of a pig and that of a human. This much is true. But to jump from that to stating that pigs should be cloned for transplants is a huge leap. Although there has been talk of xenotransplants for over a century, when executed very few are successful. (A xenotransplant is a transplant from one species to another)

The first two xenotransplants were performed in 1906 by Dr. Mathieu Jaboulay. One was a renal transplant, and the other was a liver transplant. Neither patient survived.

Since that time, many of the xenotransplants have been disastrous. The few successes are boasted, but these are few and far between. However, even if the success rate were higher, a natural animal is surely to be preferred over one that has been cloned. Cloned animals have a ton of health problems. Even the most successful cloning experiments do not eliminate this problem. The famous cloned sheep by the name of Dolly had countless health issues. She also died much younger than normal sheep.

Cloned animals of poor health should certainly not be used for human transplants. Furthermore, the problems of normal transplants are hard enough. Whenever a transplant is performed, the surgeons have to drastically weaken the recipient's immune system in order to prevent the donor organ from being rejected. Even in this weakened state, human organs are still often rejected by the body. Just imagine how much harder it is to get the body to accept an organ from an entirely different species!

When it comes to plant cloning, your argument is that they can be cloned for food and for deforestation. On the issue of food, this would be counterproductive. You would be helping one population by harming another. Some people in the third world countries may be helped, but suddenly all of the farmers are left out in the cold. For if the food production turns to cloning, it would be the large corporations that would take over. Where does this leave the farmer?

Furthermore, cloned plants are all genetically identical. From a biological standpoint this can be disastrous. By reducing the biodiversity of any population, this greatly increases the risk for diseases to wipe out the entire population. This would not only be the case with the crops, but also with the pine trees you mention. Replacing the forests with a large number of genetically identical trees that can all be wiped out in one fell swoop due to the lack of diversity is not a solution.

In addition to all of these points, there seems to be a larger number of mutations that occur with cloning. Although these effects are certainly seen more in the animal kingdom, it is hard to imagine that none are present in plants. Plants have had a greater success rate when it comes to cloning, but even in these procedures many steps must be taken to reduce or prevent mutations. This can raise some questions as to the safety in consuming such cloned crops.
Debate Round No. 1
believer_720

Pro

"You start by mentioning that there is a similarity between the anatomy of a pig and that of a human. This much is true. But to jump from that to stating that pigs should be cloned for transplants is a huge leap. Although there has been talk of xenotransplants for over a century, when executed very few are successful."

That much is true. But do you see another way of geting these 180,000 people working organs, when the numbers of organ donors are steadily decreasing?

"The first two xenotransplants were performed in 1906 by Dr. Mathieu Jaboulay. One was a renal transplant, and the other was a liver transplant. Neither patient survived."

Please review your statement. Over a decade ago? No wonder neither patient survived. I would guess that, at the very least, we know three times the medical knowledge as we did then. We are even able to entirely alter one's face. With our refined procedures and knowledge, I'm sure the chances of another xenotransplant, should another be attempted, will have a much, much greater chance of success.

"Since that time, many of the xenotransplants have been disastrous. The few successes are boasted, but these are few and far between. However, even if the success rate were higher, a natural animal is surely to be preferred over one that has been cloned. Cloned animals have a ton of health problems. Even the most successful cloning experiments do not eliminate this problem. The famous cloned sheep by the name of Dolly had countless health issues. She also died much younger than normal sheep."

Yes, that much is true. But there are some simple steps that, in theory, could help prevent some health problems, and enlongate the lives of clones. Clones are made from adult cells. And because of this simple fact, clones age much quicker. I'm sure that, if younger cells are used, it's safe to say that clones living longer lives are going to result.

In addition, these many failures are simply part of the scientific process. To find how to create a successful clone, they only possible way is to try different combinations and find what works. Over time, the cloning process will be near-perfect, and many of these diseases and premature deaths will not occur as often.

"When it comes to plant cloning, your argument is that they can be cloned for food and for deforestation. On the issue of food, this would be counterproductive. You would be helping one population by harming another. Some people in the third world countries may be helped, but suddenly all of the farmers are left out in the cold. For if the food production turns to cloning, it would be the large corporations that would take over. Where does this leave the farmer?"

Chances are, this simply isn't going to happen. First of all most farmers don't count solely on crops to make income. Livestock is something else they raise, for food and, eventually, money. There is not enough food to feed the world, this much is true. What do you propose we do as an alternative, to help these thrid world countries?

"Furthermore, cloned plants are all genetically identical. From a biological standpoint this can be disastrous. By reducing the biodiversity of any population, this greatly increases the risk for diseases to wipe out the entire population. This would not only be the case with the crops, but also with the pine trees you mention. Replacing the forests with a large number of genetically identical trees that can all be wiped out in one fell swoop due to the lack of diversity is not a solution."

I'm sure many scientists, or whoever would conduct this procedure would see it as naive to clone these plants from one single plant. Scientists wouldn't be dumb enough to take the DNA of a single tree, clone it, and send it all over the world, for the sole purpose of preventing this spread of disease.

"Plants have had a greater success rate when it comes to cloning, but even in these procedures many steps must be taken to reduce or prevent mutations."

Exactly. The point is that steps /can/ be taken. It is possible that we haven't found how to make this happen, but, again, after a certain amount of tries, we will have the process perfected.
GaryBacon

Con

You admit that very few xenotransplants are successful. But then you ask "But do you see another way of [getting] these 180,000 people working organs, when the numbers of organ donors are steadily decreasing?"

I think the key phrase in that question is "working organs." No matter what solution you wish to propose, one key factor that must be present is that the transplanted organs actually work and function inside the recipient. The low success rate combined with the rejection of organs and the poor health of clones in general make your idea a poor solution.

I mentioned the beginning of xenotransplants in humans and mentioned that both patients died. To this your reply is that the low success rate was due to the fact that they took place in 1906. But stating that more recent xenotransplants would have more success is not really true.

Moving forward to 1964, you will find that six xenotransplants took place that year. All six were renal transplants and the donor in all cases was a baboon (which is genetically closer to humans than pigs). All six of these people died.

Twenty years after that a baboon heart was transplanted into a human baby. That child died within weeks after the transplant.

Moving forward to 1992, two liver transplants were performed. Once again the donor species was a baboon. Both of these patients died soon after as well.

Now I know that you mentioned pigs rather than baboons, but since baboons are genetically closer to us, the chance of success with them would probably be even greater.

Nevertheless, I will mention that in 1992 there were two xenotransplants performed with the liver of a pig. One of the two patients survived, but the one that did survive received a human liver shortly after the xenotransplant. The other that died was also waiting on a human liver.

That illustrates a point that I've previously neglected. Even when xenotransplants are performed, they are very rarely intended to be permanent. They merely keep patients alive until human organs can be found. Cloning a whole bunch of pigs for this purpose will not solve the problem of decreasing organ donors. After the very short window of time that all of these patients would receive with such transplants, the amount of organs available would still be lacking. This is because human organs must be found soon after a xenotransplant.

When I mention the poor health of clones in general you agree. But then you say that some simple steps could help prevent the health problems and increase a clone's longevity. The health problems are, for the most part, a mystery. No one has been able to discover why so many health problems are prevalent in clones. Without even knowing the reason, we cannot take steps to prevent this.

As far as longevity is concerned, you state that using younger cells could help increase longevity. But in actuality, there have been numerous cloning experiments performed with younger cells. In fact, one of the current breakthroughs in cloning involving cows showed that aged cells have produced clones similar to those from young cells. It has led scientists to rethink their previous notion that the shortening of the telomeres is the factor that leads to aging and senescence. So your statement "Clones are made from adult cells" is incorrect.

"Over time, the cloning process will be near-perfect, and many of these diseases and premature deaths will not occur as often."

You have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not this is true. This is pure speculation. The future may hold many things in store. Perhaps scientists will discover why clones are less healthy, and perhaps they will discover that this will always be the case, even in theory. We don't know.

When I speak of plant cloning helping third world countries but simultaneously hurting the farmer, you say that this probably won't happen. But although you point out that farmers rely not only on crops, but also livestock, you have to consider this a bit more. The farmers currently rely on both livestock and crops for income. Reducing that to only livestock will definitely hurt them, even if there is still a source of income present.

As far as third world countries, you can look for many other ways to feed them. Cloning simply doesn't make sense. To spend all of the time and the money required to clone a huge amount of crops for a third world country would be counterproductive. If all of that time and money is going to be spent anyway, then they can clearly be fed natural food. It isn't like the world doesn't have enough food. Are you aware that the government pays farmers to burn crops to control the price of food? There is plenty of food that goes to waste. It does not need to be cloned.

When it comes to deforestation, I pointed out that this would reduce the biodiversity. Reducing the biodiversity of any species can be fatal. Variety is essential to life. It is what drives evolution, and it is what allows certain members of a population to survive disasters.

When it comes to this, you state "I'm sure many scientists, or whoever would conduct this procedure would see it as naive to clone these plants from one single plant. Scientists wouldn't be dumb enough to take the DNA of a single tree, clone it, and send it all over the world, for the sole purpose of preventing this spread of disease."

But this misses the point. When cloning trees to prevent deforestation you must ask: How many different plants will be used? One? Two? Sixteen? Thirty? The thing is that no matter how many different plants are used, the biodiversity of that region would greatly plummet. Reducing the biodiversity does not mean that it must be reduced to a single genome. Any practical amount chosen to clone would still result in a lack of variety. And that spells a recipe for disaster.

In your final sentence you once again speculate that the process of cloning will be perfected after a certain amount of tries. But in the real world, we cannot go based on what you predict might happen without any evidence to back it up. We must go with what we have. And what we have right now are large amounts of mutations that occur with cloning, unhealthy cloned animals that die of premature deaths, and xenotransplants that, more often than not, result in the death of the patient.
Debate Round No. 2
believer_720

Pro

believer_720 forfeited this round.
GaryBacon

Con

Anyone that wishes to research the subject can see that clones should not be used for either xenotransplants or to replace trees.

In xenotransplants, very few of the transplants are successful with regular, natural, healthy animals. Using a clone that will have a huge amount of health problems can only make the practice more unfavourable.

Replacing trees or any other living thing in the environment with clones can be extremely detrimental from a biological standpoint. Reducing the amount of biodiversity lends itself open to too many risks. There are many insects that feed on and sometimes destroy plants. Over the years, plants can develop certain ways to protect themselves. But this type of evolution (and all types for that matter) needs some genetic variability in order to operate. Clones will greatly reduce that variability and at that point it is only a matter of time before either harmful insects or some pathogen can wipe out an entire population.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
Cloning WILL be beneficial, as far as food production goes, you guys just came at it from a poor angle. We are not eating the clones,...!
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
Terrible debate,.. Way to many holes on both sides. I doubt any of you now just how common cloning is currently bieng used in Agriculture today. Corporations do NOT have the means to mass produce the amount of food to feed this world, the farmer will always be needed. The clones are of genetically superior donors, the kind that have the abilities to perform in adverse conditions, and show desired qualities. It is not practical to clone food to go directly into food production, clones are made into "seedstock" or "breeding" animals and plants, the offspring of these donors will eventually go into the food chain, or even they will be breeding stock.
Posted by Danielle 9 years ago
Danielle
And I agree whole heartedly with Kmille -- I actually read each argument, and admit that my mind was completely changed as well over the course of each round. However you both put forth a thorough argument and made this a really interesting debate. I voted Con, but hats off to the instigator on this one. You both had some great insight and ideas.
Posted by Danielle 9 years ago
Danielle
Gary, you really held your own in this debate -- good job!

And believer_720, I commend you for having an open mind :)

I'll admit that Gary provided a lot of insight to the subject that has definitely helped shape my view of this subject of debate. Thanks to both of you.
Posted by believer_720 9 years ago
believer_720
I can't believe I'm saying this, because I came into this debate knowing that my personal views would stay with my side, but in the end, you actually changed my views on the topic, as well. The risks outweigh the benefits. That's the reason I missed my third round.

Thanks for the great debate!
Posted by Kmille11014 9 years ago
Kmille11014
that was a really good and thorough debate, by looking at the heading, i immediately thought, i am definetly voting Pro. However, most good judges would like to learn and read each side. After the first round i was voting con, then after the beginning of the second, i was voting pro. When con put his statement in, i was amazed at his thourough-ness. in round 3 i believe pro hurt his chances. Con, you have changed my original opinion, and made this quite a good debate.. Congratz i vote con
Posted by Cooperman88 9 years ago
Cooperman88
I almost took this debate and said that humans are technically animals, but i wil respect your wishes and not talk about humans.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Off_the_Wall.Paul 5 years ago
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