Should human cloning be legal in Australia?

Should human cloning be legal in Australia?

Discussion When Italian and US scientists claim they will clone a human within two years, the first question is: can they do it? (Healey: 2001: 29). This leads to an even more significant question Should human cloning be legal in Australia? John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, made a statement on 4 April 2002, that he proposes to introduce a bill to parliament, to allow the use of existing stored embryos for therapeutic cloning research. The announcement caused much controversy. For example, the state premiers of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and scientists said that it would not be enough to allow research to advance. Members of the clergy are outraged by the announcement (7.30 Report, ABC, 4/4/02). What is cloning and why the debate? Cloning is a process that has occurred in nature in some species, as long as life has existed. The word cloning entered the English language in about 1903. Since then the Oxford Dictionary has referred to it as reproduction by budding, splitting off part of a diploid, multi-celled organism to form another. The word was first used in botany to refer to replicating a plant by taking a cutting. The definition of cloning has changed considerably since then and the Macquarie Dictionary (2001) now defines it as: clone 1. to bring about the asexual reproduction of (an individual), as by implanting the nucleus of a body cell from a donor individual into an egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed, and allowing the egg cell to develop, the resulting individual being identical with the donor but having no cells in common with the female providing or harbouring the egg cell. 2. to replicate exactly. 3. an asexually produced descendant. 4. Horticulture a group of plants originating as parts of the same individual, from buds or cuttings. Identical twins and triplets are naturally occurring clones. In the late twentieth century humans…


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