• Question: Will cloning become a standard medical procedure?

    Asked by errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr to Hannah, Ian, Jono, Mark on 26 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Mark Hodson

      Mark Hodson answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      hi errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,

      I think I answered this during the live chat. I think we will clone cells and things for use in medical procedures but I doubt we’ll ever clone people even if it becomes possible (I suspect it will) because of the ethical issues.



    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (is that too many R’s :P)

      Scientists already clone on a daily basis during their research, when they want to grow cells in the lab or introduce certain changes to its DNA. This lets them understand different diseases and illness.

      We have already shown cloning can happen to a real living thing – like Dolly the sheep. She was a complete clone of her previous self.
      So if we can clone a real animal, maybe we can clone our own healthy organs and keep them until we need them later in life. This is something people are looking at, at the moment. We have got as far as we are able to create new organs completely from our cells.
      I think in the next few years, this will change and we will be able to clone our organs and use them if we had lung cancer, or we had to give our sister a kidney.

      The only problem is Dolly the sheep didn’t live long because we didn’t get the cloning process quite right. So until we are able to make the things we clone live for a long time, it won’t be used in medical just yet


    • Photo: Ian Wilson

      Ian Wilson answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

      I think we’ll see organs being cloned more often in the future, but not whole humans. Some researchers have already managed to make organs in a lab, so I can definitely see them being able to make them for individual people. Imagine how incredible it’ll be for a failing liver to be replaced by one that you know your body won’t reject!

      But cloning entire humans probably won’t happen – it would be far too unethical. There would be too entirely identical people in the world – would the clone be seen as a real person? What would be done with them?

      There’s a good film called ‘The Island’ that deals with this actually. In it, an entire community of people exists who are clones of humans. They are kept alive until the ‘original’ person needs a new organ at which point the clone is killed so that organ can be used. That’s obviously horrendous and couldn’t be allowed but it shows one of the extreme problems we could have if we were able to clone humans.

      Hope that helps,