Cloning is fundamentally different from ordinary reproduction. It involves taking an adult cell from a living person, slipping it into an egg cell whose genetic material has been removed and allowing the genetic material of the adult cell to direct the development of a new embryo, then foetus, then person who is the identical twin of the person who provided the initial cell. It enables a living person to be reborn as a duplicate of themselves. Scientists and infertility specialists envision certain specialized circumstances in which it might be acceptable to clone humans, for example, to provide donor organs and bone marrow.
Since Scottish researchers created Dolly in 1997 by placing an adult ewe's genes in an empty egg and triggering it to develop into an embryo, other scientists have managed to clone worms, mice and cattle using the same methods. But the failure rate has been alarmingly high at 98 percent. Often the attempts have resulted in failed births or clones with genetic defects such as extra large organs or weak hearts or immune systems.
Despite a scientist's announcement that he and his colleagues would be ready to place a cloned embryo in a woman's womb within 18 months, the technique has hardly been perfected.
There is a real need for human cloning technology, particularly among parents who are unable to conceive by any other means.
There are complications that arise when dealing with people rather than animals, including how to prevent the birth of a badly deformed baby. Flaws may not always be apparent. Many of the problems that have arisen in animal tests have been mostly unobservable at the foetus level. When you produce a sick child you can't simply dispose of it.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.