Does a clone have a soul?
At the beginning of our life we are given a certain genetic makeup. What it means to us is epigenetically influenced in the course of life by switching on and off as well as changing genes. Mental, emotional and emotional factors also play a role here. We develop in a constant dialogue with the external and internal environment. In my personal conviction, the distinction between biological and non-biological factors is only a question of perspective. Basically, the human being is a unity of body, mind and soul and can only shape his life as this unity.
American scientists have now removed the genome of a human egg cell and replaced it with the genome of a fetal skin connective tissue cell. The resulting cell developed for seven days, then stem cells were obtained. When cloning by means of cell nucleus transfer, a genome is, as it were, reused. Does this development process lead to a cell that we ethically and legally regard as an embryo in the same way as an embryo that arises through fertilization, i.e. through the fusion of egg and sperm cells? Does it primarily depend on whether the cell has the potential to develop in such a way that a person can be born?
I see ethically relevant differences in the development process. If a cloned human were born, we would rightly consider them one of us. He would only share the genome with another person, he would still write his life story himself. But he would have to write this story as someone who was given his genetic prerequisites in a special way.
With artificial insemination the natural process of fertilization is imitated, with cloning something is done that does not exist in nature. Nature does not know about cell nucleus transfer as a variant of human fertilization. The emerging human being no longer owes its genetic makeup to chance or divine activity and it is not new. An important condition of freedom and deprivation that we have all shared so far is no longer applicable. We shouldn't treat each other like that.
Some suspect that a human being cloned through nuclear transfer would have severe malformations. This may especially be the case with the first attempts, but what is not certain is that it cannot work in the long term. Some suspect that no one is interested in reproductive cloning. Those are reminded of the Raelians who, unproven, announced the birth of the clone baby Eve in 2002 and offered anyone interested to clone a human being.
A worldwide ban on reproductive cloning is necessary. And one should not prevent it again by calling for a ban on research cloning and thus wanting more than is achievable. Research cloning will remain controversial and it can be left to national laws to regulate it.
We are free to shape our lives in dealing with all that is fateful. Increasing opportunities for action open up great opportunities, but can also be stressful and overwhelming. Genes are part of our life story. Each individual, society and the state are responsible for ensuring that they play their appropriate role there.
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