The reprogramming (reverting) of human fetal cells into human embryonic stem cells that grow beyond 8 cell stage is reported recently (Cell, Volume 153, Issue 6, p12281238). The growth of embryos beyond 8 cell stage in a laboratory is a milestone in the field given that all previous attempts repeatedly failed to achieve this goal. The growth of reprogrammed somatic cells beyond 8 cell stage in a laboratory is very significant because 8 cell stage must be passed for successful pregnancy in naturally conceived human babies. This implies that, in theory, scientists now possess the technology to grow human clones that could translate into creating a human clone. The technique uses human female egg cells as vehicles for reprogramming somatic cells (non egg or sperm cells) into embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in a laboratory. These embryonic stem cells, in theory, if implanted into a uterus of female (surrogate) retain the potential to develop into a baby. The nature and the scope of this type of research are unprecedented and consequences beyond any ones control. The first casualty of a human clone, unfortunately, could be the faith in God! A faith that vast majority of human race holds supreme.
So how close are scientists from creating a first human clone?
How much damaging a human clone could turn out to be of the faith in God? This question has been debated since the cloning of Dolly sheep (Wilmut, et al, Nature 1997). The idea that one day we might be living with human clones seems disturbingly close to the reality. In very clear words, it must be stated that with the birth of first human clone shall come a certain end of all forms faiths practiced on the World today. The reason is the following: Your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to create a human being out of clay. When I have shaped him into a form and breathed My Spirit into him, fall down in prostration to him!” (Qur’an, 38:71-72). In this glorious verse of Quran a creation of human being is elegant and explicitly stated. It is noteworthy that no equivalent verse is to be found in any other biblical or Vedic text that describes the explicit creation of a human being by God. Therefore, successful cloning of human beings by man-not the cloning of any other animal species- is in total conflict with the faith in God. And also is a real test about the existence of God, a test that no other civilization had ever experimented. Creating a human clone, thus stays at the crossroads of the fundamental quest in God.
What is a clone?
Cut out a branch of a rose tree and insert it into the ground at another location, the growth of a new rose tree in next season is a rose tree clone. Examples of clones of living beings are so common that we take them something not unusual or barely give much attention. For example, living beings produced through asexual reproduction are clones. In a process known as Budding, which is common in yeast and hydra, an offspring grows out of a parent body; offspring is a clone of the parent. Gemmules are the mass of cells that parents produce. This mass of cells grows into an offspring; offspring is a clone of the parent. Fragmentation is another example in which a parent body grows up to a certain size and divides into two offspring each one is a clone; likewise, identical human twins are the clones. Then, why a successful cloning of a human being would be indicative of non-existence of God, if propagation through asexual reproduction is inherent and common in nature? The answer to this question is the following: Ones the technique of cloning humans is successfully developed in a laboratory the process of cloning humans could become a routine. A few cells could be taken out from a dying individual or a healthy person and fused with a donor enucleated egg (an egg donated by a lady having its nuclear DNA removed) and grown in a laboratory till eight cell stage is passed. Subsequently growing embryos could be implanted into the uterus of a lady who is willing to become a surrogate, after 9 months of gestation period a baby is born who in reality would be a clone of that dying person or that of a living person. Birth of such a clone is problematic! It means that new human beings are being created by humans and not through Gods created mechanism. It also implies that humans can be created and recreated at will in laboratory reducing the status of humans equal to that of any other organism such as a plant, fungi, bacteria etc.
Despite dramatic claims about the breakthrough progress in cloning and with it disapproves of God and resulting bans on reproductive cloning in some countries, the assumption is that human clone can never be made. Let us analyze why a human clone can never be made. In theory, Human clones can only be made from the fertile females and females only can become clones. The reason is that it is the eggs that will be inserted with DNA derived from a donor. If a female donates both egg and cells for cloning, the resulting clone will be a female and will fit to the most accurate definition of a human clone. In less strict definition of a clone, a clone can also be a male by using DNA donated by a male and fusing it with eggs of fertile female. Thus, a condition of fertility poses serious limitations to human cloning. This challenge, however, could be overcome by selecting healthy donors. Humans are unique and distinct from all other living beings, not only in their ability to invent and discover things but biologically as well. Humans have well developed menstrual cycle that allows the growth of genetically competent ovum which after fertilization allows efficient copying of correct genetic information (during cell divisions) and selective translation of genes during body developmental plan (segmentation). This process, in humans is strictly regulated throughout the embryonic development. Mothers reject abnormally conceive (with chromosomal abnormalities) embryos. As humans grow in age cells begin to accumulate abnormalities (mutations) and lose ability to divide. So DNA from an adult or an elderly person for cloning could prove hard to reprogram, even harder could be suppressing activity of genes that determine gender (sex chromosomes) or genes that carry diseases. In addition, cells from aged person produce marks at the ends of DNA that in a way are aging marks that could make it difficult for a cell to revert back in time. Even if succeeded in reprogramming, the embryo will inherit erroneous genes reducing the chances of success of the growth of an embryo very less likely. Even if fetal cells are used there still is no way one can prevent errors in the genome during and after the artificial gene transfer techniques as against natural fertilization of an egg. The spindles in human eggs are not widely separated, removing chromosomes without disturbing spindle, an essential component of the egg cell division, is challenging.
For the faithful the challenge of cloning a human is also the test of faith. The challenge to faith arises when the test results demonstrate: 1) That a Lady has been impregnated with human cloned cells, 2) The birth of a cloned baby, alive or dead. Western civilization stands a chance to disapprove what many eminent scholars in the West famously called, God delusion! If delusion is not proven to be an illusion then it will certainly prove, Those created mortals will remain mortal and His rule and dominion over all affairs and processes shall remain forever.
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