According to MIT Technology Review, human cloning could be possible in the future. This prediction is based on the current state of cloning, which allows consumers to clone their pets for around $50,000. Not to mention that in January, 2018, Chinese scientists successfully cloned monkeys.
An animal cloning scientist named Jose Cibelli from Michigan State University explained that the cloning process has become more refined thanks to breakthroughs in science. The cloning process uses eggs, which are reprogrammed to turn certain genes back on. However, scientists have had a hard time in the past turning on specific genes, which hindered the cloning process. That is, until Yi Zhang, a stem cell biologist, discovered a way to release the blocked genes using certain chemicals.
These chemicals increased the success rate dramatically. Before, only about 1 percent of the cloned embryos ended up with a successfully cloned mouse. With the chemical modifier, the cloning was successful around 10 percent of the time. Zhang then moved on to human eggs, reaching a 25 percent success rate. The scientist said that their intention is to grow stem cells to help people medically, not to create human clones.
In fact, China’s breakthrough in cloning monkeys actually had a lot to do with Zhang’s patented discovery. However, the process was not perfect. Scientists went through 417 eggs and 63 surrogate mothers before they successfully cloned two monkeys. Moreover, the monkeys died before they matured into adults. In its current state, cloning a human would require too many eggs and surrogates.
In the meantime, Zhang is founding a company called NewStem, which will serve as a bank for cloned stem cells. Another company, called PerPETuate, stores and prepares pet cells for cloning. They have been asked in the past to store human cells. The founder, Ron Gillespie, has always declined, saying he’s very opposed to it.
And even if human cloning became possible, it’s already illegal to do so in many countries around the world. According to Futurism, there are already 46 countries that have banned any form of cloning, and human cloning is banned in 32 countries. Plus, it raises a deep ethical issue, and no scientist has openly stated that they support human cloning.