The first thing that needs to be said is that, at this time, it is NOT currently possible to clone humans! The various science fiction movies are exactly that; amusing, thought provoking, entertaining AND not yet true! But not beyond our technological capability within the next 100 years or so.
This is not an issue that requires immediate political determination, nor an emotion based, religious reaction. There is time for reasoned and sensible debate. There is no need for violent extremes at this time, or for the next 100 years or so probably. That it may become an important concept of human ethics in the future is abundantly clear, but only if there is a human society to have ethics, 100 years from now.
That it be an issue that we as the human race should discuss and dwell upon, is almost certainly inevitable. But not one there is any need to consider or stress upon now. At this time, we need to focus on our and our children’s continuance. And that means not necessarily our own economic survival, nor whether we are likely to survive the next few years, but whether our children and theirs can continue after us.
Whether what we are doing now, will allow then to continue to survive in the future, or if we are so stuck on our perception of what is right that we are unable to adapt our ways. That we so need to stick to what we are comfortable with, that doing so is more important and effectively beyond our ability to perceive and accept
If we are still surviving from the vast range of environmental problems resulting from global warming and its resultant climate change draughts, floods, storms and the less sensational but just as devastating weather variations that can so change the growing realities of our lands; can we still have hope for our children? Then again, can we not? As parents, is it not impossible not to have hope for our children, whether such hope is valid or not? Must we not kowtow to the dominance of those that say they are dominant to us, purely in the hope that by doing so they will provide and develop the agricultural and food requirements that will enable our children to not only live, but have children of their own?
The world’s politics are now and always have been subordinate to the economic domination of the multi-national corporations. How could it be otherwise? Those dominating such corporations do so because their innate desire is to dominate, they are hardly likely to allow their domination to NOT include politicians when so many of them can be so easily bought by bribes or controlled on the basis of their personal proclivities, those that when exposed to the public would destroy any possibility of political power. Better to be a powerful pawn than a non-entity.
Cloning is in its infancy and it is extremely difficult to clone animals even from the cells of unborn mammals: fetuses. While the cloned sheep “Dolly” makes it obvious that cloning from mature animals is indeed possible, it required a large amount of repeat attempts. At this point, no attempt to clone from any member of the various primate species, those animal species closest to us humans, has yet resulted in an announced success at the time this article was written, and the difficulties occurring in doing so make it unlikely that any such result will occur in the far, let alone near, future. And is unlikely to occur for quite some time. Some taxonomic families, those that might be considered relatively simplistic on a genetical basis appear to be capable of cloning. The great ape families, which includes Homo sapiens sapiens, ‘US’ in other-words, do not appear to be sufficiently simplistic for successful cloning.
This does not mean that it has not been attempted, it means that such attempts have failed. The animals that have been “successfully” cloned have all been relatively uncomplicated species, only very slowly leading up to relatively simple and uncomplicated mammal species. While they have resulted in live animals, they are animals with a shortened lifespan. Essentially, if you clone an appropriate animal of a species that typically lives for 15 years when it is 5 years old, the newborn clone will have a life expectancy of 10 years. They do not get a fresh start, they have the life expectancy of their species minus how old their progenitor (cell donor parent) is already.
It doesn’t matter our attitude, whether scientific or religious. Numerous types of cells within a multi-cellular being divide regular to support that beings continued life. Whether it is an animal, plant or fungi. All of which are eukaryotic life forms, as all multi-cellular lifeforms are. Nevertheless, each time an appropriate cell type divides through mitosis in this manner, it duplicates the originating cell’s chromosomes, more often than not accurately. The occasional failure results in a mutated cell that is usually killed by our immune system, even if the mutation is inclined to be neoplastic, that is cancerous.
When a member of an endangered species dies early or even at a normal average lifespan, cloning them to increase the ability to breed additional young makes this sort of technological an absolute bonus for those agencies and organizations endeavoring to maintain endangered species and maintain the world’s biodiversity. Efforts that anyone knowledgeable about bio-prospecting in support of human health circumstances should be absolutely keen on for their own and there families health benefits, if for no other reason.
So, if human cloning actually becomes feasible in the near future under current realities, the clone of an 80 year-old man would have the same life expectancy as his progenitor. Making it completely pointless for that life greedy billionaire to have his brain transferred from his failing body to what might initially appear to be a fresh new one. The rather dark science fiction concept of an aged man having a clone grown so he could have his brain transplanted into a new younger body would be relatively pointless. Although, I suppose such a person might want to do so to experience a year of rapidly deteriorating health because it might at least start with a period of seemingly renewed youth. That might be an evil that would occur far more often than I might suspect, and vastly more than I would wish.
Though this does not stop the possibility of future developments, which no doubt encourages the ready financial support for such scientific endeavors, even if that support is hidden by significant walls of multi-faceted business structuring. Hardly surprising.
All said and done, the whole concept is relatively pointless. If cloning people becomes feasible technically in the relatively near future, it is unlikely to have much if any financial value. Cloning will be expensive, extremely, yet is unlikely to provide any life extension benefit for the ultra-rich. Although there is the possibility of self-absorbed mega-trillionaires upon approaching death wanting to gift their fortune to “themselves” rather than hated, avaricious multitudes of relatives.