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The importance of cloning

By Greg DeBenedetti
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 13, 1999
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To the editor,

The question of cloning has been debated and pondered since the discovery of DNA. Some believe that it is immoral and disgraceful while others find the concept rather exciting and potentially helpful to mankind. Some of these helpful theories are cloning organs for human transplant, and to aid couples that are unable to bear children. These ideas would be considered miracles to those of you that are in need of such technology.

Sadly, with each new discovery comes drawbacks of some kind. However, in this particular situation, the benefits would greatly outweigh those small weaknesses. We all go through a lot of pain and suffering that could be virtually nonexistent should we choose to embrace this new technology.

We have all had the experience of a loved one or ourselves being hospitalized due to problems with internal organs. Furthermore, we are all aware of the shortage of transplantable organs that would be able to fit a particular body. Patients are on a list for months on end awaiting a transplant. Moreover, there is a specific process that each patient must go through to "weed out" those more in need of a transplant.

This process, unfortunately, leaves people who are forced to suffer or die as a result of not receiving the transplant. However, if an organ was cloned from the patient's organs the policies and the waiting period would disappear. The time spent suffering would be nonexistent and the sheer benefits of the technology would be phenomenal.

Thousands of patients undergo transplants every year for different medical reasons. Here are some statitstics. Since 1982, 45,993 people had a heart transplant, 2,428 people underwent hear/lung transplants, and 4,777 Americans have had lung transplants. This is a very large number; sadly though, that means thousands of transplant applicants have been turned down.

Imagine lying on a cold hospital bed waiting for any news about youir sickness. Suddenly the doctor walks into your room and approaches you with a sad look on his face. "I'm very sorry, but your transplant has fallen through and a different candidate was chosen for the organ. I'm terribly sorry."

On a personal level, last January a friend of mine was lost in a motorcycle accident. He didn't die from a fractured skull or punctured lungs, but from a ruptured kidney.

The injury was minute and it took him several days before he finally passed away.

Now, had there been a perfect clone of his kidney, doctors would have been able to replace the kidney and save my friend's life. He was only 20 years old.

Unfortunately, this technology is so very new that there was no chance of it ever being available to my friend.

However, in later years, as the technology advances, doctors will be able to save the lives of our loved ones caught in accidents.

Certainly there will be risks involved as there are with anything newly discovered. However, when the benefit is helping hundreds of thousands of Americans achieve happiness then there is no risk great enough to stop it.

Greg DeBenedetti
Media Arts freshman