“Scientists should be on tap but not on top” – Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
Cloning is the term applied to the production of identical organisms. Dolly the sheep was perhaps the most famous example but cloning is now reality. Scientists are able to ‘create' so-called identical organisms, using genetic material from the subject organism. So far, these novel organisms do not appear to have normal longevity but that is a challenge to which science will be only too willing to rise.
Cloning mice, sheep and other animals may not seem a big deal but can it be so far-fetched to envisage the spread of the technology into the world of human cloning? Has mankind such a record of ethics and morality that would put a stop to that, before it started? The Americans have a wonderful phrase for such conundra – “go figure”! Wouldn't Adolf Hitler have enjoyed this technology?
The AVMC view is very similar to that on GM technology. It should not be touched with the proverbial barge pole. The scientific world (another term for the commercial world) knows no fear when it scents massive profit. Scientists can appear to be blinded to predictions about the consequences of their work, when they feel the excitement of innovation and the heady cocktail of scientific kudos and fame. Mix money and ambition in the cauldron of technology and you have a recipe for disaster.
Can we hear echoes of “I only invented the bomb, I didn't drop it“?
This technology is on the march. Since the first tadpole was cloned in 1952, the following species have been cloned, to the knowledge of the AVMC: carp, cat, cattle, deer, dog, frog, fruit fly, gaur, horse, mouse, mule, pig, rat, rhesus monkey, sheep and wolf.
See also: Animal Experimentation.