“You’re rich and you want to live forever? Clone yourself. And when the old liver fails from too many cocktails or the lungs from a lifetime of Ultra Lights? Swap them out for spares […]” (Benedikt 2007: 1). This might be what many people think in films or novels like ‘The Island’ or ‘Never Let Me Go’.
The history of cloning, however, goes back quite a few years. It started when the German biologist Hans Dietrich succeeded in splitting and creating single-celled embryos. In 1966, Sir John Gurdon experimented by creating two cloned frogs and a few years later, the first articles about cloning were published in reputable science and biology magazines (cf. Haran et al. 2008 : Appendix 1). On the 25th July 1978, the first embryo who was created by in vitro fertilisation was born. The following milestones in the history of cloning were the cloning of mice in 1981, the beginning of the Human Genome Project in the USA and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act passed in the UK (cf. Haran et al. 2008: 13). In October 1993, two scientists at George Washington Medical Centre managed to clone human embryos in consequence of splitting cells (cf. Haran et al. 2008: 65).
The event that attracted probably most public interest was the birth of Dolly the sheep in 1996, when scientists created a sheep that was like a twin or a second issue to the actual model. This happening also alarmed then president Bill Clinton who called on US National Bioethics Advisory Panel to discuss the consequences of Dolly’s birth which led to the containment of funding for cloning in 1997 (cf. Haran et al. 2008: Appendix 1). The USA even took a stronger line with cloning when the House of Representatives voted to ban all human cloning in 2001. Two years after this vote, Dolly the sheep died, but the research did go on. It went even as far as to the statement of a biologist who announced that he had inserted a cloned embryo in the womb of an infertile woman (cf. Haran et al....