Aside from the fact that all cloning of course is reproductive cloning, which is the nature of what we’re doing, we’re here supplanting the procreative process with a new form of human reproduction. The question at issue certainly has several different facets. One facet is the preventing horror of the birth of babies, live-born babies who have been cloned. On that issue, there seems to be something approaching unanimity, although of course there’s never quite unanimity on any moral question, and there has been an energetic campaign on the part of a small minority, both of political libertarians, of reproductive rights extremists, and of course academics who write books about these things in favor of even that option once the safety issues have been resolved.
In 1894, Hans Driesch cloned a sea urchin through inducing twinning by shaking an embryonic sea urchin in a beaker full of sea water until the embryo cleaved into two distinct embryos. In 1902, Hans Spemann cloned a salamander embryo through inducing twinning as well, using a hair from his infant son as a noose to divide the embryo. In 1928, Spemann successfully cloned a salamander using nuclear transfer. This involved enucleating a single-celled salamander embryo and inserting it with the nucleus of a differentiated salamander embryonic cell. In 1951, Robert Briggs and Thomas Kling, using Spemann’s methods of embryonic nucleus transfer, successfully cloned frogs. In 1962, John Gurdon announced that he too had successfully cloned frogs but, unlike Briggs and Kling’s method, he did so by transferring differentiated intestinal nuclei from feeding tadpoles (Wilmut et al. , 2000). Gurdon’s successful use of differentiated nuclei, rather than the embryonic nuclei used by Briggs and Kling, was particularly surprising to the scientific community. Because embryonic cells are undifferentiated, and therefore extremely malleable, it was not too surprising that transferred embryonic nuclei produced distinct embryos when inserted into an enucleated oocyte. However, inciting differentiated nuclei to behave as undifferentiated nuclei was thought to be impossible, since the conventional wisdom at the time was that once a cell was differentiated (., once it became a cardiac cell, a liver cell, or a blood cell) it could never reverse into an undifferentiated state. It was for this reason that, for a long time, creating a cloned embryo from adult somatic cells was thought to be impossible – it would require taking long-time differentiated cells and getting them to behave like the totipotent cells (cells that are able to differentiate into any cell type, including the ability to form an entirely distinct organism) found in newly fertilized eggs.
The issue of cloning has taken central debate in the Islamic religion. Though Muslims are rarely interested in the technology, they are much concerned with the overall biological, social and ethical impacts of the procedures involved in cloning. The central tenets of Islamic perspectives on human cloning are centered on at least three major perspectives (Voneky & Wolfrum, 2004). The first issue is on how human embryonic cloning goes contrary to the ethical teachings and beliefs of Islam and whether it can be accepted in the religion. Secondly, the consequences of cloning to the Islamic society in particular and the general society is of particular interest and thirdly, the Islamic consideration of the stage at which a developing embryo can be termed as a living being is also a central issue (Sadeghi, 2007).