Human Cloning

  • Toivo Maimets
  • Kristi Lõuk
Reference work entry


This chapter covers the technical, philosophical, and juridical aspects of international governance of human reproductive cloning. Human reproductive cloning is the creation of a human embryo from a nuclear DNA sequence of an existing human being (or from one having existed earlier) in order to implant it into a womb, leading eventually to the birth of an identical human being. The methods available for cloning are developing quickly, and first the principal technical approaches to this issue are described. Then the main arguments used in the ethical discussions over human cloning are presented, both supporting and opposing it. In the last part, the attempts made at an international level, both in United Nations and the UNESCO, to achieve the ban of human reproductive cloning in all UN Member States are described. Although many people, organizations, and countries recognize the need for such a ban, especially because of rapid scientific developments and vulnerability of some countries, it has not been achieved yet.


Embryonic Stem Cell Human Dignity Moral Status Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Medical Tourism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ashcroft, R. E. (2005). Making sense of dignity. Journal of Medical Ethics, 31, 679–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baerschi, B., & Mauron, A. (2010). Moral status revisited: The challenge of reversed potency. Bioethics, 24, 96–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brock, D. W. (2001). Cloning human beings: An ethical assessment of the ethical issues pro and con. In L. Paul (Ed.), Cloning and the future of human embryo research (pp. 93–113). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Buchanan, A., Brock, D. W., Daniels, N., & Winkler, D. (2001). From chance to choice. Genetics and justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Caulfield, T. (2003). Human cloning laws, human dignity and the poverty of the policy making dialogue. BMC Medical Ethics, 4, e3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caulfield, T., & Brownsword, R. (2006). Human dignity: A guide to policy making in the biotechnology era? Nature Reviews Genetics, 7, 72–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chan, S., & Harris, J. (2008). Adam’s fibroblast? The (pluri)potential of iPCs. Journal of Medical Ethics, 34, 65–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Council of Europe. (1998). Additional protocol to the convention for the protection of human rights and dignity of the human being with regard to the application of biology and medicine, on the prohibition of cloning human beings. Accessed 25 September 2012.
  9. Haugen, H. M. (2010). Inclusive and relevant language: the use of the concepts, autonomy, dignity and vulnerability in different contexts. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 13, 203–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Havstad, J. C. (2010). Human reproductive cloning: A conflict of liberties. Bioethics, 24, 71–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Häyry, M. (2003). Philosophical arguments for and against human reproductive cloning. Bioethics, 17, 447–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Holm, S. (1998). A life in the shadow: One reason why we should not clone humans. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 7, 160–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holm, S. (2008). Time to reconsider stem cell ethics – The importance of induced pluripotent cells. Journal of Medical Ethics, 34, 63–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hyun, I. (2008). Stem cells from skin cells: The ethical questions. The Hastings Center Report, 38, 20–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. IBC. (2009). Report of IBC on human cloning and international governance. Accessed 22 February 2012.
  16. Imamura, M., Aoi, T., Tokumasu, A., Mise, N., Abe, K., Yamanaka, S., & Noce, T. (2010). Induction of primordial germ cells from mouse induced pluripotent stem cells derived from adult hepatocytes. Molecular Reproduction and Development, 77, 802–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kant, I. (1994). Ethical philosophy. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  18. Kaufman, M. H., & Webb, S. (1990). Postimplantation development of tetraploid mouse embryos produced by electrofusion. Development, 110, 1121–1132.Google Scholar
  19. Kolberg, R. (1993). Human embryo cloning reported. Science, 262, 652–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kuppuswamy, C., Macer, D. R. J., Serbulea, M., & Tobin, B. (2007). Is human reproducible cloning inevitable: Future options for UN governance. Yokohoma: United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies.Google Scholar
  21. Macklin, R. (2003). Dignity is a useless concept. BMJ, 327, 1419–1420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Magill, G., & Naeves, W. B. (2009). Ontological and ethical implications of direct nuclear reprogramming. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 19, 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murray, T. H. (2009). Even if it worked, cloning wouldn’t bring her back. In B. Steinbock, A. J. London, & J. D. Arras (Eds.), Ethical issues in modern medicine: Contemporary readings in bioethics (7th ed., pp. 661–664). Boston: McGrawHill.Google Scholar
  24. Noggle, S., Fung, H. L., Gore, A., Martinez, H., Satriani, K. C., Prosser, R., Oum, K., Paull, D., Druckenmiller, S., Freeby, M., Greenberg, E., Zhang, K., Goland, R., Sauer, M. V., Leibel, R. L., & Egli, D. (2011). Human oocytes reprogram somatic cells to a pluripotent state. Nature, 478, 70–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. O’Neill, O. (2002). Autonomy and trust in bioethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. PCB President’s Council on Bioethics. (2002). Human cloning and human dignity. An ethical inquiry. New York: Public Affairs.Google Scholar
  27. Steinbock, B. (2009). Reproductive cloning: Another look. In B. Steinbock, A. J. London, & J. D. Arras (Eds.), Ethical issues in modern medicine: Contemporary readings in bioethics (7th ed., pp. 651–661). Boston: McGrawHill.Google Scholar
  28. Takala, T. (2005). The many wrongs of human reproductive cloning. In M. Häyry, T. Takala, & P. Herissone-Kelly (Eds.), Bioethics and social reality (pp. 53–66). Amsterdam: Radopi.Google Scholar
  29. UNESCO. (1997). Universal declaration on the human genome and human rights. Accessed 20 February 2012.
  30. UNESCO. (2005). Universal declaration on bioethics and human rights. Accessed 22 February 2012.
  31. Warren, M. A. (2000). Moral status. Obligations to persons and other living beings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Wilmut, I., Schnieke, A. E., McWhir, J., Kind, A. J., & Campbell, K. H. (1997). Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells. Nature, 385, 810–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yao, L., Yu, X., Hui, N., & Liu, S. (2011). Application of iPS in assisted reproductive technology: Sperm from somatic cells? Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, 7, 714–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhao, T., Zhang, Z. N., Rong, Z., & Xu, Y. (2011). Immunogenicity of induced pluripotent stem cells. Nature, 474, 212–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Molecular and Cell BiologyUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Centre for EthicsUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

Personalised recommendations