When we think of clones, we think of the Clone Wars in the Star Wars saga. Fortunately for sci-fi fans, we’re closer than ever to a future ruled by genetic copies of ourselves. With advancements in science, we can now live longer and healthier lives using cloning. We know, it sounds far-fetched and the topic may make some people uneasy, but the discussion of cloning ourselves has been around since the '90s. Remember films like Blade Runner and Gattaca? They were revolutionary because people were already contemplating genetic coding and cloning.
While this process doesn’t exactly stand on solid ground as yet, scientists are working to perfect it. We may never truly create the “perfect human being” but we can come close enough with copies. Here are 10 reasons scientists think cloning ourselves will be our salvation.
10. It Could Eradicate Disease
Eradicating disease is one of the biggest reasons for the scientific community to pursue cloning. For common illnesses like cancer, HIV, and diabetes the future of an affected person is often grim. Therapeutic cloning, luckily, could be a doctor’s best bet for treating patients and possibly extending their lives. This process involves cloning human cells, often healthy ones, for medical purposes. These are used to create stem cells from which new tissue is grown. Patients with diseases such as liver failure and Parkinsons could benefit the most from this, as they could receive new tissue transplants without a waiting list or issues of rejection.
9. No More IVF Or Surrogacy
Cloning could also benefit infertile couples. Those who wish to have children could do so freely and without the stress of worrying about the long process of IVF treatments (that may not work). Same-sex couples would also have an easier path to parenthood. With there already being a wealth of treatments for infertility cases out there, scientists want to add reproductive cloning to the list. It’s exactly like it sounds; doctors would use cloned cells to create a human child. Is anyone getting flashbacks of lovable David from Artificial Intelligence after reading this? While it’s great for couples who want to be parents, we can see how the process might freak out the rest of us.
8. The Pursuit Of Perfection
Similar to the basis for the 1997 movie Gattaca, cloning can lead to new processes of genetic modification. In the movie, people are genetically modified to become the perfect version of themselves, and while that's not quite how this works, it's a similar principle. Through the use of cloning humans, pregnant couples could choose particular traits for their children. This means that we could have a say in a child’s personality type, eye color, and gender, rather than leaving these characteristics to chance. Parents could even rid of the genes that might not be so great for the child in the long run.
7. Cloning Our Pets
Since Dolly the sheep became the first cloned animal in 1996, scientists have proposed several benefits to animal cloning. In particular, cloning can bring back our deceased pet. We all how hard the passing of a favorite pet can be. While the clone may not look exactly like our pet, this process could manage to replicate the majority of the same traits as the original. Some veterinarians are even offering pet owners the option to freeze sample tissue from pets - just waiting for the time this tech becomes a reality. What a great alternative for pet owners!
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6. Saving Endangered Species
Ok, technically this one is about animal cloning... but it could make a huge difference to human lives! Cloning animals has many benefits beyond simply bringing back beloved pets - it could also be possible to clone livestock and endangered species. Cloned livestock means eliminating breeding problems (like inbreeding and genetic defects) with a little in-lab tinkering, while cloning endangered species could be an incredible way to bring back creatures that have been pushed to the brink - and to maintain the ecosystems that they are a part of.
5. More Geniuses
Sure we have reproductive and therapeutic medicine but what about the people responsible for giving us the gift of scientific inquiry in the first place? The world could always use more geniuses, and cloning the smartest of the smart could allow the clones to continue the work of the originals. Just think what we could create with a whole pack of Einsteins! However, this would mean a cloning process specific enough to replicate intelligence and personality on every level.
4. Humans Could Gain Superpowers
Cloning could do more than just create more geniuses, it could actually give us superpowers, such as a fast healing factor. If an athlete pulls their hamstring it takes the injury three to six months to heal, sometimes a year. The same goes for those with injuries from a car accident; the recovery time for victims is often a prolonged and stressful process. There are also many cases where the injured person never makes a full recovery at all. Making genetic copies of cells and using them in treatment could lower recovery time. In time, this application of cloning could even allow people with spinal injuries to walk again.
3. Bring Back Our Loved Ones
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never an easy thing. At times, the burden of losing a lover, a child, or a parent is too difficult to bear but cloning could take care of that. This next benefit may cross over into the controversial side of cloning, but it does offer the possibility that we could be reunited with our loved ones. Through the use of this process, scientists propose to make a genetic copy of the person who passed... allowing us to essentially replace the deceased. While this is an application that would need a huge amount of ethical debate before it could happen, it’s still a possibility to consider.
2. The Fountain Of Youth
For years scientists have tried to crack the code to age reversal. Truth is, people want to stay young and live forever. No one wants to accept that one day they'll be ninety and stuck in a nursing home somewhere. We get it, it’s not exactly a future most people look forward to. But cloning may be the key to ending the aging process - or at least, delaying it dramatically. If a person is aging, they could have their cells cloned in order to preserve their youth. This could prolong the average lifespan of a human being dramatically.
1. Beauty Doesn't Have To Come With A Price
Whether we’ve just survived a car accident or just want to modify our bodies for cosmetic reasons, cloning can present a safer way to achieve our vision of “perfection”. When silicon gels and other fillers or prosthetic's are used in surgery, these materials can do more harm than good to the patient's body, as they leach chemicals when breaking down, or can be directly rejected. Rather than introducing materials foreign to the body, doctors can grow cells, bones, and tissues that match that of the patient. People may think the journey to perfection is paved with pain but that’s not always the case.