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"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Gen.22:2-3)
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Br. Samuel Babu, Believers Brethren Assembly, (BBA), Majlis - Bahrain For the last few days, we have been relentlessly praying for Br. Samuel Babu, who suffered Cardiac Problems and was admitted in Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain. It was well pleasing for our Lord to call HIS child to the Eternal Home, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no tears, no sickness and no death. He went to be with the LORD around 10:30 PM Bahrain Time today (Friday 23rd 2015). Let us uphold the grieving family members to the Throne of Grace. May the Lord bestow upon them heavenly Grace, Peace and strength and console them with the word of God.
 
 
 
BIBLE & SCIENCE

IMPLICATIONS OF CLONING 

  Dr. Johnson C. Philip

Chapter- 4

Implications of Cloning (I) 

(Physical And Psychological Aspects)

            In this chapter we take a look at the consequences of cloning . It must not be forgotten, however, that cloning humans has not been successful at the time of writing this.  

 

Our discussion is thus based upon the collective experience and observations of the past one hundred years of experiments with reproductive technologies. Thus the discussions in this and the following chapters stand upon very firm observation, yet at the same time all this discussion might turn out to be an underestimate of things to come.  

  

In the past it has been observed that the consequences of future discoveries can be guessed with reasonable accuracy. But at the same time our past experience shows also that almost all such guesses are underestimates. In the case of technologies that can be used for good as well as for evil, the evil uses have always surpassed anybody's thoughts. Since this phenomenon has been witnessed consistently throughout the development of modern science (the last 500 years), it applies to cloning too. Thus the evil uses and consequences of cloning might far outweigh the good uses.  

  

1. Cloning And The Aging Process: Though the quantity of genes remains identical in a person whether he is in a single celled embryonic form or in a 90 year old stage, the two stages of life are not identical in any way. The effects of aging are clearly visible even to the most untaught person.  

  

For hundreds of years the scientists have been struggling to discover the factors that control the process of aging. The final answers are not yet here, yet at least few things are now clear. For example, at present there are very strong reasons to believe that genes have an intimate connection with aging.  

  

This means that though the sum total of genes in a person at the age of 9 and 90 is the same, there are definitely some qualitative differences. Thus in all probability, the genes of a 40 year old person would always try to behave according to their age, even if they are put into the cell of a fresh (few days old) ovum. Though scientists have now discovered the method of "waking up" sleeping genes, they are unable to undo or reverse the effects of aging on genes. In fact they do not even know how this process of aging is recorded into genes.  

In the light of the above, a cloned human (or animal) would have at least three kinds of ages: The physical age, the genetic age, and the actual age. Since a cloned person is born as an infant (and not as a grown-up person) his age from birth would be reckoned just as it is done for any human. This is called the "Physical age". However, the genes in his cells come from a mature person of substantial age. This is the Genetic Age and it will be very high compared to his physical age.  

Since scientists have not discovered any method for age resetting (or to reduce the age of genes to zero), the cloned person would tend to have a conflict between two internal clocks: the Physical Clock and the Genetic Clock. The Physical Clock makes the person appear physically young while the genetic clock functions at the age-level at which the genes were extracted from the adult. Once the physical age and genetic age come into conflict with each other, the resultant age will be that person's Actual Age.  

  

The Actual age of the cloned person is going to be a very complex factor, resulting from the unusual (and even dangerous) conflict between his physical age and genetic age. This can make the cloned person a very complex entity with his genes dictating one thing while his body refuses to heed many of these because it is not mature enough to fulfill such demands.  

 

2. Aging And Physical Growth: Right from the time a child is conceived through the sexual process, its physical age and physical growth keep a harmony with each other. This is because the numerous biological clocks in the body (many of which are not even discovered yet) run in synchronism with each other. This synchronization is essential for all bodily organs and functions to maintain balance with each other.  

 

Since there is no method for resetting the genes taken from a mature human cell to the starting state, the clocks in a cloned person would never be able to synchronize with each other. Thus it is difficult to predict the net result of the conflict between the numerous clocks. For example, everyone would be in trouble if a child with a physical age of eight starts manifesting the sexual desires of a twenty-eight year old adult. Similarly, if he starts slowing down (like a sixty-year old person) at the age of twenty, both he as well as his family would be in trouble.  

 

A complex system or a complex machine functions properly only when all the parts function in coordination with each other. We cannot expect it to continue working after throwing in handfuls of sand into it. Of course, the machine might work for some more time after such an abuse, but a fast breakdown is imminent. Similarly, breakdown and disaster is built into the fruits of cloning.  

  

3. Ageing and Psychological Growth: The human intelligence and mind has no parallel in the animal world. Though every normal baby is born with the enormous capacity for intelligence and abstract thinking, this capacity does not automatically grow into a human.  

  

A person acquires normal intelligence only if his physical and mental growths take place together and in proper balance. If the physical growth is faster than mental, the person becomes mentally handicapped, or at least a person of lower IQ than normal. If the mental growth is faster than the physical, we have a physically retarded person. Any of these conditions cause worry in parents, and medical sciences have invested much time and efforts to solve the problems of mental and physical retardation.  

  

By its nature itself, cloning builds into the clone the possibility of physical or mental retardation, or even both. Once a deficiency is detected, it cannot be rectified overnight or immediately. Some of them would even be beyond any rectification at all. Overcoming human physical or mental retardation is not similar to filling up an empty petrol tank. Human life is not mechanical processes alone.  

Though humans have not been cloned at the time of writing this book, it is not difficult to understand the psychological problems of clones. It would surely be a frustrating existence when their physical and mental growths do not match with each other.  
  
  

4. Ageing And Diseases: It is clearly known today that several serious physical disorders and diseases are intimately connected with old age. The causes might be genetic or bacterial/viral, but as long as the person is young his body is able to resist it all. The stamina of youth helps the person to overcome the restrictions placed by the physical problems.

   

Once the body ages, the immune system loses much of its efficiency. Many of the bodily functions slow down. Memory and muscular coordination weaken. All the characteristic symptoms associated with old age manifest. Of course a naturally old person is not shocked at any of these changes, but the same is not the situation of an otherwise young person who has to live with these manifestations.  

Since the process of cloning restarts the stopped clock, but since it is not able to start it from the beginning, the process of aging is being built into the clone. The consequences would definitely be disastrous.       
  
  

5. How Shall The Clone Relate With Others: Since the clone is liable to have several conflicting clocks within his body, he shall face several adjustment problems. Physically he might look like a baby, but in many ways he might be radically different from others of his age. At the stage of marriage, there would be severe restrictions about the partners that he can and cannot choose. Any wrong choice here can result in serious genetic disorders in the offspring.  

 

Overall, it is going to be a very difficult situation for parents, mates, doctors, lawmakers, and ethicists to deal with the overall needs and demands of clones. 

 
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